SURPRISE: More Breast Cancer Patients should have Lung Tumors Removed

I hope our readership is as lucky as we are in that we are not intimately familiar with breast cancer that has metastasized to the lungs.  As such, we were surprised to learn, in this US News article, that surgery to remove metastasized lung tumors is not typically performed as part of the standardized treatment.

This SmartBrief summary is what caught our eye:  “A German study found patients with metastatic breast cancer who underwent surgery to remove lung tumors had an average survival rate of 103 months in cases of complete removal, and 20 to 23 months in those whose tumors could not be completely removed. The results suggest physicians should consider surgery in such patients, researchers wrote in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.”

The US News article further states that the study included 81 patients and was included in the April issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.  And that: “The average survival of breast cancer patients whose cancer has spread (metastasized) to other areas of the body and who undergo conventional chemotherapy regimens ranges from 12 months to 24 months.”  Wow, from 24 months to 103 months?!  That’s quite an increase!  Of course, our staff then asked about the quality of life for those extra months.  The article did not mention that so we can only hope that each patient would find a way make each day of each extra month as special as possible.  Someday, those extra months may lead to a cure…or so we hope!

“Based on their findings, (Dr. Georgios Meimarakis, of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich) and his colleagues ‘highly recommend’ that doctors consider surgery for breast cancer patients whose cancer has spread to the lungs.  These results show that this type of surgery needs to be considered more often as part of a multi-pronged approach to treatment of these patients, Dr. Hans Hoffmann, of the University of Heidelberg, in Germany, said in an accompanying editorial.”

Please share your thoughts and feelings about this study with us, either in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.  We look forward to learning from you!

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