Surgical delays safe for early-stage breast cancer patients, study finds

Surgical delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic won't affect survival rates of some patients with early-stage breast cancer, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons suggests.

Researchers analyzed 2010-16 data from the National Cancer Database on 378,839 patients with ductal carcinoma in situ and early-stage estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. They used statistical modeling to assess how pre-pandemic treatment delays affected time to pathological staging, in which clinicians identify the cancer's stage and overall survival.

Researchers found no link between surgical delays and overall survival for patients who either waited for surgery or opted to take a hormone therapy.

There was a slight increase in the number of patients whose cancer was raised to a higher stage while waiting for surgery.

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