Breast conserving surgery, where the tumour and surrounding tissue are removed, rather than the whole breast, has similar survival outcomes compared to mastectomy, but allows for a much shorter recovery time. Unfortunately, one in five women who have had breast-conserving surgery needs a second surgery because some cancer cells are missed. This is traumatic for the women concerned and costly to the health service.
Associate Professor Campbell and his team aim to use data from the Patient Register to figure out the optimal amount of breast tissue surrounding a tumour that needs to be removed to minimise risk of the cancer recurrence that would require extra operations.
"Thanks to the Patient Register, we can establish guidelines that all surgeons can follow, so that as few women as possible have to go back for a second surgery.''
Funding provided by a joint partnership between the Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand (BCFNZ) and the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC).