Surgery for breast cancer increases the risk of relapse or death within three years following the procedure, cancer specialist Michael Baum has revealed. He fears that surgery could also accelerate the spread of the cancer.
His concerns follow on from previous reports that showed that radical surgery to treat prostate cancer also spread the disease (see WDDTY, vol 6, no 11).
Mr Baum, based at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, said that women who have surgery for breast cancer are not necessarily in the clear if they survive the initial three years. Relapse or death can occur years later, although it is a less dramatic peak the second time, he said.
This goes against current thinking, which suggests that the disease continues to develop at a constant rate (The Lancet, January 27, 1996).