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Delayed Surgery Does Not Affect Survival Rates in Women with Early-Stage Breast Cancer

Patients who experienced a delay in treatment for their early-stage breast cancer through surgery but received neoadjuvant endocrine therapy did not reduce the 5-year survival odds in women.

According to research, the overall delays in the surgical procedures to treat estrogen-sensitive early-stage breast cancer and receiving neoadjuvant endocrine therapy did not lower or increase the odds of pathologic upstaging in female patients.

These results are reassuring to women whose scheduled surgeries were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and especially those who received neoadjuvant endocrine therapy as the initial treatment of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.

The study investigated the survival outcomes in female patients with stage 0 non-invasive ductal carcinoma in situ and those who had ER-positive stage I or limited-stage II disease whose breast cancer surgeries were postponed for being considered non-urgent.

Most of the patients had been scheduled for surgery within 120 days.

Additional results of the study show that if the delays were longer than 60 and 120 days after diagnosis, the odds of clinical upstaging would be greater in women with ER-positive or negative breast cancer.

Irrespective of the primary treatment strategy, there wasn’t any associated increase for patients with invasive breast cancer.

There was a significant likelihood of neoadjuvant endocrine therapy in patients with estrogen receptor who were older and had high comorbidity index, cT2 vs. cT1 tumor status, and lobular disease.

According to the findings, surgical delays of more than 120 days were linked to pathological upstaging in women with ductal carcinoma in situ and not in those who had invasive disease.

This data suggests that initiating neoadjuvant endocrine therapy in estrogen receptor-positive and ductal carcinoma in situ is a reasonable delay strategy. However, neoadjuvant endocrine therapy is not widely used in the United States yet.

More research is needed to follow up on this study and determine if these women were treated during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the findings can provide a reassurance since the patients in the study groups affected are similar.

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