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Choice of surgeon and hospital affects lymph node surgery in women diagnosed with DCIS

Posted Date: July 28, 2015

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer and puts women at increased risk for developing invasive breast cancer. A new study examined whether recommendations of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to treat women with DCIS are impacted by the patient’s choice of surgeon or hospital.

A study published in the June 2015 issue of JAMA Oncology reviewed 35,591 medical records of women that were diagnosed with DCIS and had either a lumpectomy or mastectomy between January 2006 and December 2012. Researchers found that nearly 18% of women who had a lumpectomy to remove DCIS also had some type of lymph node surgery, despite ASCO’s recommendation against removing lymph nodes, unless the DCIS is widespread or a suspicious mass is found. The ASCO also recommends a sentinel lymph node biopsy, rather than an axillary node surgery, for women who have a mastectomy to treat DCIS. The study found that non-teaching hospitals, urban hospitals, and surgeons performing the least number of DCIS surgeries were more likely to deviate from the ASCO recommendations. Women preparing for a procedure are encouraged to discuss the study with their physicians.