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Following a positive breast cancer test, the first reaction of most women and the doctors treating them is to have the tumor removed immediately and start and radiation therapies that might be necessary. However, a study published in the Annals of Surgery suggests that a short delay in treatment may not increase the risk of cancer progression.
Researchers from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, noted these results after examining the medical records of 818 women being treated for breast cancer. Those who delayed having their tumors surgically removed for a few weeks experienced similar outcomes to those who opted for immediate surgery.
After a woman is given a positive breast cancer test, there can be many things that delay treatment. Patients must first be given a battery of tests to ensure that they are healthy enough to undergo surgery, treatments for follow-up care must be coordinated and patients must be referred to tertiary care providers.
However, it was not known if the delays stemming from these processes threatened the treatment outcomes of cancer patients. The new findings help answer this question.
"Modest time intervals from imaging to surgery are not significantly associated with change in tumor size; thus, patients may undergo preoperative work-up without experiencing significant disease progression," the researchers wrote in their report.
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