I apologize due to the late postings. I have been in San Francisco this week for a breast cancer symposium and am writing these in the late hours of the night. I know there are a few emails I need to return to patients, but will reply tomorrow when I return home. I will have more time to ensure that I properly email all the information that you need. My sincere apologies.
Today I would like to touch on the SEER (Surveillence, Epidemiology, and End Result) program data. There was a retrospective analysis performed on the SEER data from 1998-2003 looking at if removing the primary tumor in metastatic breast cancer patients and its effect of overall survival. The primary treatments of choice for patients with Stage IV (4) breast cancer are chemotherapy and radiation, with surgery typically reserved for tumor-related complications. What some researchers wanted to do was use the SEEr data to see if there was a survival benefit to women if the primary breast cancer was removed surgically.
What the Department of Surgery at the University of Washington did was take a retrospective look at the SEER data, and perform a population based cohort study by using the SEER data from 1998-2003. By using certain models (Multivariate Cox regression models) the overall survival in women with Stage IV breast cancer were compared between women who underwent a srugical removal of their primary breast tumor with women that who did not undergo any surgical removal of the primary breast cancer. The researchers tried to control for demographic, tumor and treatment related variables, and the likelihood of women undergoing surgery.
What the researchers found was that of the 9734 SEER patients, 47% underwent a surgical removal of the primary breast cancer and he remainding 53% did not. The median, or average, survival was longer for women that underwent surgery versus those patients that did not. This survival benefit was the same for women that were alive at the end of the study (36 vs. 21 months) and among women who had died during follow up (18 vs. 7 months). After the researchers took into account the variables and controlling for the likelihood of patients undergoing surgery, patients who undewent surgery were found to be less likely to die during the study compared with women who did not have surgery.
The conclusion of this study is that with the retrospective analysis of the 1998-2003 SEER Data it indicates that there is an overall survival benefit to patients with StageIV Breast Cancer that have their primary tumors removed versus those patients that choose not to.
As always, if you or a loved one has any further questions or conerns, or has any other questions relating to other cancer related topics, please feel free to contact me directly at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or CANCERGEEK@CANCERGEEK.COM