, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 1271-1272,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 05 Mar 2008

Positive Margins: The Challenge Continues for Breast Surgeons

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As breast cancer treatment has progressed to offering breast preservation to the majority of patients, a new challenge has arisen. That challenge is adequate margins on the partial mastectomy specimen. The literature reports positive margins in 20–70% of patients, resulting in additional surgery. While the consequences of that additional surgery probably do not affect survival from breast cancer, they do potentially have an affect on cosmesis, wound infection risk, and the confidence that the patient has with the surgeon wondering “why didn’t you get it all?”

The article “Predictors of Re-excision Among Women Undergoing Breast Conserving Surgery for Cancer” by Waljee et al.1 attempts to identify the factors that increase the risk of a positive margin. This avenue of research is important in clinical management of breast cancer, allowing surgeons to more intelligently counsel patients regarding risk of re-excision. The authors identified several factors that predict a higher rate of posi ...