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Woman getting mammogramA combination of breast conservation surgery and radiation is as effective as breast removal for some women with large, localized invasive breast tumors, a new study contends.

Breast-conserving lumpectomy is usually limited to women with small tumors, the researchers said.

“For decades, breast cancers have been felt to be amenable to lumpectomy with radiation only if the tumors were 5 centimeters [nearly 2 inches], or smaller. This is because the prospective trials that compared [lumpectomy and mastectomy] didn’t enroll patients whose tumors were larger than 5 centimeters,” lead investigator Dr. Richard Bleicher, of the department of surgical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, explained in a Fox Chase news release.

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