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Early Stage Breast Cancer: Lumpectomy May Be Better than Mastectomy

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, women may face an agonizing decision: Should I opt for a lumpectomy or mastectomy?

For over two decades, it's been believed that in early stage breast cancer, the outcomes between mastectomy and lumpectomy plus radiation were equivalent.  

But a study of more than 112,000 women treated and followed for five years found that the lumpectomy option may be better.  Those patients had a 13 percent lower mortality rate from breast cancer and a 19 percent lower mortality overall than mastectomy patients.

A researcher at Duke Cancer Institute says it should reassure women that lumpectomy remains an excellent choice for those with small early stage breast cancer.

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