According to a U.S. new study most women diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States are operated on by surgeons who perform relatively few of these operations each year.
The finding by researchers in Wisconsin is startling in light of recent U.S. and U.K studies that showed women had a better chance of surviving breast cancer if operated on by a surgeon who did at least 15 to 30 of the operations each year.
Only 10 percent of women with the disease go under the knife of someone who meets the higher end of that range, according to an analysis of Medicare data from 1994-1995 by the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
Almost half of the 8,105 women in the study were cared for by surgeons who did 12 or fewer breast cancer operations in the two-year period. Twenty-eight percent of surgeons had performed no such operations on Medicare patients in each those years, reports Reuters.com
The mutations occur in a gene called p53. "P53 tumor mutations have for several years been known to be associated with a poor prognosis for breast cancer," said study author Beth A. Jones, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Yale University School of Medicine. The report appears in the Aug. 9 online issue of Cancer.
"But this is the first population-based study that shows a clearly significant race difference in p53 tumor mutations, once you adjust for other factors such as tumor stage," Jones added.
Jones and her team evaluated the breast tumors of 145 black women and 177 white women, looking for differences in the p53 gene. Although they found black women were more likely to have p53 gene mutations, they didn't find significant differences by race in any other cancer-related genes, informs Forbes.com