Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have shown that estrogen-lowering drugs can help reduce the need for mastectomy in some breast cancer patients.
Estrogen is known to increase tumor growth in the majority of breast cancer patients.
In a new study, post-menopausal women with large breast cancer tumors were given one of three estrogen-lowering drugs before surgery.
Study lead Dr. Matthew Ellis says all three drugs were equally effective in shrinking tumors and reducing the need for complete breast removal.
"In this particular study, about half the patients who were told they needed a mastectomy when they arrived in the doctor's office could undergo breast conservation surgery at the end of treatment," Ellis said.
Ellis says these drugs are already used to reduce tumor size and improve surgical outcomes in Europe. He hopes these results will help encourage more U.S. doctors to do the same.