Reconstructive Surgery Does Not Delay Chemo For Breast Cancer Patients, Study Finds

One in eight women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

Having breast reconstruction immediately after a mastectomy does not delay chemotherapy treatment, a new study has found.

Concerns have been raised that immediate reconstructive surgery could result in delayed chemo or radiotherapy treatment for patients.

But a new study – to be presented to the UK Interdisciplinary Breast Cancer Symposium, hosted by the charity Breast Cancer Now – found that further treatment for breast cancer was not delayed among a group of women studied.

However, researchers found that women who had immediate breast reconstruction surgery were more likely to suffer complications requiring readmission to hospital in the first six weeks after treatment.

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The study, led by Dr Shelley Potter from the University of Bristol and Professor Chris Holcombe from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, examined data on more than 2,500 women from the UK and Europe who needed a mastectomy, of which, 1,000 had immediate breast reconstruction.

Overall, further chemotherapy or radiotherapy was needed by almost half of patients and researchers did not find a significant delay in the time to start additional treatment between those who had reconstruction or not.

But patients who had an immediate reconstruction were found to be significantly more likely to require readmission to hospital or re-operation in the first six weeks following their surgery.

Breast Cancer Now estimates that of the 17,200 women who undergo a mastectomy following a breast cancer diagnosis each year in the UK – over 3,500 of these patients opt to have immediate reconstruction.