Medicine: Alternative to Mastectomy

When doctors discovered last March that the slight hardening in the right breast of Eugenie Blaschko was a malignancy and that the cancer had spread to adjoining lymph nodes, they urged her to undergo a mastectomy. But Blaschko, 56, an exercise buff who swims year round in the California surf near her Long Beach home, adamantly refused to let surgeons remove the breast. Says she: "I decided I'd rather live a few years less and keep what I have."

Instead of a mastectomy, Blaschko opted for interstitial radiation therapy —the temporary implanting of tiny...

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