Breast-Conserving Surgery in Hong Kong Chinese Women



Since the introduction of breast-conserving surgery (BCS), it has been increasingly accepted as the standard surgical option for suitable breast cancer patients in Western countries. However, there have been reports suggesting striking ethnic variations in those undergoing BCS. This study aimed to review the rate of BCS in Hong Kong Chinese breast cancer patients and the possible clinicopathologic and psychosocial factors that may have affected the choice of surgery.


Patients in a university academic surgical center with early-stage breast cancer (stage I/II invasive carcinoma and carcinoma in situ) who underwent definitive surgery from January 2001 to December 2005 were studied. BCS was considered feasible for those with (1) the optimal tumor size for which an acceptable cosmetic outcome can be achieved after surgery, (2) unifocal disease, and (3) no contraindication for postoperative radiotherapy. The proportion of women undergoing BCS or mastectomy were compared. Factors affecting the choice of surgery were correlated.


Six hundred eighty female patients with early-stage breast cancer underwent surgery during the study period; 495 (72.8%) mastectomies, 149 (21.9%) BCS, and 36 (5.3%) mastectomies with immediate reconstruction were performed. For those patients who had mastectomies, 54.8% (271/495) had considered BCS as the initial surgical option. Among these, 19.6% (53/271) failed to have BCS performed due to margin involvement or extensive disease, and 80.4% (218/271) declined BCS and opted for mastectomy only. Age, marital status, and educational level were found to be independent significant factors affecting the choice of BCS.


The rate of BCS in Hong Kong is relatively low compared to that of Western countries. Patients who opted for mastectomies tended to be older, married, and have a lower educational level. Prospective studies on how sociocultural, clinicopathologic, and other factors important in treatment decision-making processes and psychosocial impact of choice of surgery are important so that an ethnic-specific assessment can be made. Suitability and acceptance of BCS by Chinese women should increase with better understanding and education.

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Correspondence to Ava Kwong.

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Suen, D., Chow, L. & Kwong, A. Breast-Conserving Surgery in Hong Kong Chinese Women. World J Surg 32, 2549 (2008).

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  • Breast Cancer
  • Chinese Woman
  • Breast Conservation
  • Margin Involvement
  • Psychosocial Sequela