Postoperative Roentgen Therapy for Cancer of the Breast. A Report of 103 Consecutive Cases
Carcinoma of the breast has always been looked upon as primarily a surgical problem. Within recent years the analysis of the results which are obtained by surgical procedures, together with our thorough understanding of the clinical course of the disease, would seem to give rise to the question as to whether or not operation alone is the final and satisfactory treatment of this disease.
Surgical extirpation of any malignant process in any location, by any technic, will completely eradicate every neoplasm if it is so localized that it has not extended beyond the area which can be excised. Unfortunately such a favorable condition is seldom encountered and it is very uncommon to discover a case of cancer of the breast in which foci have not developed throughout the gland and extended into neighboring tissues, or in which the cancer has not metastasized to the adjacent lymph nodes or more distant areas. This fact is well demonstrated by examination of massive cross sections of the entire breast in which numerous nests of neoplastic cells are found scattered throughout and involving most of the structures in a majority of specimens. Also it is well known from the reports of competent pathologists that the axillary nodes are involved in 95 percent of specimens which are examined. It is very questionable that malignant disease can be completely eliminated when the axilla is involved, even by the most skillfully performed operation, and it is probable that neoplastic cells remain after operation in a majority of. . .