Medicine: Rebuke for Radical Mastectomies

Studies support limited surgery, chemotherapy for breast cancer

For almost a century, the cornerstone of treatment for breast cancer was the Halsted radical mastectomy. In this physically and often emotionally scarring operation, the breast, underlying chest muscles and lymph nodes in the armpit are removed. In the past decade, however, most doctors have recommended less drastic surgery, particularly for women whose cancer is detected early. Now a major study confirms that women with very small tumors are just as well off with limited operations that spare most of the breast tissue.

The study, conducted between 1973 and 1980 by Dr. Umberto Veronesi...

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