Friday, 30 January 2009

Useful to know before breast surgery

In my research I came upon the book 'A Healing From Breast Cancer ' by Barbara Joseph M.D. In it she refers to a study published in The Lancet in May 1991 authored by Dr. Ian Fentiman, the deputy director of the Imperial Research Fund's Breast Unit at Guy's Hospital in London. Studies showed that premenopausal women could benefit from having their mastectomies performed in the last two weeks of their menstrual cycle. They developed significantly fewer late recurrences or metasteses than women who underwent surgery in the first two weeks. The reference is

Fentiman I.S. et al. My 25 1991 Timing of Surgery During Menstrual Cycle and Survival
of Premenopausal Women with Operable Breast Cancer Lancet 33 : 1261 - 64.

Barbara Joseph states that " if a drug produced the survival benefit of 84% vs 54% at 10 years, which the timing of surgery did in the quoted study, it would be headline news, the pharmaceutical companies would be marketing it and doctors would be utilizing it. " ( A Healing From Breast Cancer. Barbara Joseph M.D. page 100 ) I have never heard of this, and I would have certainly wanted to act on this information. The results are explained as being related to the production of hormones in the ovaries and their effects on the body. Only oestrogen is produced by the ovaries in the the first two weeks of a womans cycle. Progesterone is the dominant gonadal hormone produced in the latter two weeks. Perhaps my surgeon did bear this in mind when he scheduled me in. They certainly knew the date of my last period, but to my recollection the only thing that governed when my surgery took place was the availability of my surgeon, a bed, and an operating theatre slot.


  1. Gynecomastia results from an altered estrogen-androgen balance, in favor of estrogen, or from increased breast sensitivity to a normal circulating estrogen level.

  2. I don't quite understand what you're trying to say. Perhaps you'd like to clarify ? Thanks for reading and commenting.