International guidelines for treatment agree that survivals from early breast cancer are similar whether treatment is by mastectomy or breast conserving surgery and radiotherapy.

The results of this study show that the majority of women with early breast cancers were treated with breast conserving surgery, reflecting the broad support of Australian surgeons for international evidence and guidelines.

A patient's odds of being treated with mastectomy increased for:

  • tumours 40mm or larger
  • residents of more remote areas
  • treating surgeons performing 10 or less breast cancer operations per year.

Further study is required to determine the reasons for these differences.