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March 1959

Prophylactic Castration in Carcinoma of the Breast

Author Affiliations

From the Tumor Clinic of Michael Reese Hospital.; Dr. Rosenberg is now Assistant Radiologist, Mount Sinai Hospital.

AMA Arch Surg. 1959;78(3):376-379. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1959.04320030020004

The beneficial effects of oophorectomy as a palliative procedure in advanced mammary carcinoma have been known for more than 60 years (Schinzinger, 1889; Beatson, 1896). With increasing knowledge of the relationship of certain malignancies to hormonal functions, particularly the estrogendependent carcinomas of the breast, castration by surgical means or by irradiation of the ovaries has become more widely practiced in the management of metastatic cancer of the breast.

In contrast to the acceptance of castration as a palliative measure in the treatment of advanced cancers, the suppression of ovarian function, either by surgery or by irradiation as a prophylactic method before metastases occur, has been a controversial problem. The majority of publications on this subject have been in disfavor of such procedures, as exemplified by Ackerman and del Regato1 by the statement: "There is no evidence that sterilization results in the prolongation of life or that the systematic sterilization

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