Benefit to surgically removing areas of metastasis?


Question from CarlaDeB: Was anything reported about surgically removing cancerous tissue in metastatic patients? Is this going to be the norm now?
Answers - Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. For women who are diagnosed with metastatic disease, the way to treat this, particularly if it's a single site and they've had otherwise a good response, can be challenging. Some women may benefit from excision of a solitary lesion, but these cases are somewhat uncommon. In general, it's difficult to determine if there's a survival benefit from excising a solitary lesion, for example in the liver or lungs. In general, this is better treated with systemic treatment, and if the response is good, consideration is given to localized treatment for these lesions.
Kathy D. Miller, M.D. There are really two important surgical questions for women with metastatic disease. The first is whether women would benefit from removing an area of metastatic disease, such as a lung or liver nodule. That is not something we commonly recommend, but may be a reasonable option in certain situations. I didn't see any new data at this year's meeting that would help with those decisions. The other question is for women who may have metastatic disease at the time of their original diagnosis who have not had surgery to remove the primary tumor in the breast. In that setting, there is a question as to whether removing the tumor in the breast might help those women live longer. There will be a randomized trial specifically to address that situation, but that trial has not started yet.

On Tuesday, December 15, 2009, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the 2009 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Kathy Miller, M.D. and Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening techniques, treatment options, and more.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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