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June 1987

Costs of Lumpectomy vs Mastectomy

Arch Surg. 1987;122(6):736. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400180118026

To the Editor.—In the November 1986 issue of the Archives, an article1 was published concerning the greater cost of treatment of cancer of the breast with lumpectomy and irradiation (in properly selected patients) when compared with radical mastectomy. Unfortunately, the authors of the article neglected to include the cost of reconstructive plastic surgery with the cost of the mastectomy. It is not reasonable to compare lumpectomy, which leaves a far more cosmetically appealing, intact breast, with mastectomy alone, which results in deformity and psychological trauma. I am certain that if the costs of mastectomy and reconstruction were added they would be more expensive than lumpectomy and irradiation, with the procedures yielding approximately the same cosmetic results, control of the tumor, and survival rates.

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