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New study reveals big disparity between countries in breast conservation rates

f the investigators, and all curative surgical procedures had been allowed.

To reduce the risk of any bias, Professor Jassem analysed in detail only the 10 countries that had contributed a minimum of 150 patients drawn from several centres in each country.

The mastectomy rates were:
* France 28%
* UK 31%
* Belgium 37%
* Italy 41%
* Germany 43%
* Switzerland 47%
* The Netherlands 48%
* USA 56%
* Spain 66%
* Poland 98%

Professor Jassem, who is the past chairman of the EORTC's Breast Cancer Group, said he had been prompted to carry out the analysis by one done two years ago by the ATAC research team when it was comparing anastrozole with tamoxifen.

"The results of the two are similar so I would consider this situation typical for a general population of breast cancer patients," he said.

Professor Jassem concluded that there were a number of explanations for the variation. One major factor was that the tumours might be more advanced when they were diagnosed in those countries with higher mastectomy rates. "Early detection is strictly related to screening programmes and in countries with no nationwide screening programmes the cancer is likely to be more advanced on average at diagnosis. We can't take tradition and surgeons' and patients' attitudes into account in the analysis but this may be another factor. Finally, in some countries, access to radiotherapy may be an issue."
Abstract no: 362 (16.00 hrs Friday 19 March, Hall 1)


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Contact: Mary Rice
mary.rice@blueprintpartners.be
49-403-569-3625
Federation of European Cancer Societies
19-Mar-2004


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