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Keywords:

  • breast cancer;
  • Chinese;
  • conservation therapy;
  • Hong Kong;
  • recurrence;
  • survival.

Background: Breast conservation therapy is an established procedure for treating invasive breast cancer. However, little has been reported in the literature about its applicability in the Chinese. This study was done to find out the local recurrence and mortality rates of such therapy among Hong Kong Chinese women. In addition, the prognostic factors were also examined.

Methods: A retrospective study reviewing clinical records of breast cancer patients treated between February 1986 and September 1994 was undertaken.

Results: Sixty-four female patients were identified. The follow-up period ranged from 8 to 90 months with a median of 46 months. The median age at diagnosis was 51 years and 50% of patients were postmenopausal. The median tumour size was 2.5 cm and 20 patients had involved axillary lymph nodes. Ten (16%) patients developed ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence and seven underwent salvage mastectomy. Lymphovascular permeation by tumour cells was the only factor significantly associated with recurrence. Five (8%) eventually died; the 5-year disease-free and overall survival rates were 42% and 83%, respectively. Ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence correlated with a higher mortality rate whereas adjuvant treatment with either chemotherapy or tamoxifen improved the outcome.

Conclusions: Breast conservation therapy is an acceptable alternative in the treatment of breast cancer in Chinese patients.