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For women who receive positive breast cancer test results, estrogen-lowering medications may reduce their need for invasive mastectomies, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
A mastectomy is a common procedure for women who are found to have advanced stages of breast cancer. However, the procedure can take a large toll on an individual and many consider it disfiguring. The new findings could help women avoid the need for this procedure.
The study involved 159 women who were originally told that they would need to undergo a mastectomy. After 16 weeks of aromatase inhibitor therapy, a common estrogen-lowering drug, 81 of these participants saw enough tumor regression to allow them to opt for breast-saving surgery.
"At the beginning, all of these patients were going to get mastectomy and at the end of the trial only half got mastectomy," said Matthew Ellis, who led the investigation. "That's a very substantial improvement in surgical outcomes."
He added that the findings could help guide future research, which may benefit women with various types of breast cancer.
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