Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 169–175

Clinicopathologic factors and patient perceptions associated with surgical breast-conserving treatment

  • Cyrus A. Kotwall
  • J. Gary Maxwell
  • Deborah L. Covington
  • Paige Churchill
  • Susan E. Smith
  • Eleanor Krassen Covan
Original Articles


Background: Clinical studies have shown equivalent survival rates between breast-conserving surgery (BCS) and mastectomy in early breast cancer; however, rates for BCS remain low. The purpose of this study was to determine (a) the prevalence of BCS in a regional medical center, (b) clinicopathologic factors associated with BCS, and (c) patient perceptions of the treatment decision-making process.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 251 consecutive breast cancer cases during January 1990–December 1991; 77 patients were ineligible for BCS because of unfavorable pathology. We then interviewed 118 of the 160 women available for interview.

Results: BCS was performed in 31 of the eligible patients (18%). Multivariate analysis revealed that tumor size <10 mm (p=0.03) was the only significant predictive variable for BCS. Patient interviews revealed that 93% said their surgeon was the primary source of information regarding treatment options. Among 69% of the women whose surgeons reportedly recommended a particular option, 89% recommended mastectomy with 93% compliance, and 11% recommended BCS with 89% compliance. The BCS group more often obtained a second opinion (p=0.04) and 60% said they made the decision themselves compared with only 37% of the mastectomy group (p=0.05).

Conclusion: Limiting BCS to women whose tumor size is <10 mm is too restrictive; this excludes a large number of women who are clinically eligible for BCS. The surgical decision-making process for early-stage breast cancer is very much surgeon-driven, with a high degree of patient compliance.

Key Words

Breast cancer Surgery Segmental mastectomy Breast-conserving surgery Patient interview 


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Copyright information

© The Society of Surgical Oncology, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cyrus A. Kotwall
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • J. Gary Maxwell
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Deborah L. Covington
    • 3
  • Paige Churchill
    • 3
  • Susan E. Smith
    • 3
    • 4
  • Eleanor Krassen Covan
    • 5
  1. 1.From the Departments of Surgery, School of MedicineUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill
  2. 2.Coastal Area Health Education CenterWilmingtonUSA
  3. 3.New Hanover Regional Medical CenterWilmingtonUSA
  4. 4.Coastal Area Health Education CenterWilmingtonUSA
  5. 5.University of North Carolina at WilmingtonWilmingtonUSA

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