You may think a mastectomy is a safer bet than a lumpectomy for those diagnosed with breast cancer. But a new study of more than 100,000 women with the disease finds that for those who catch it in its early stages, the opposite is actually true. Women diagnosed with stage one or two breast cancer who chose a lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy, rather than a mastectomy, were 13% more likely to survive the disease. And in women over age 50, that number jumped to 19%, the Daily Mail reports.
The decade-long Duke Cancer Institute study gives credence to experts who believe that radiotherapy, a five- to six-week treatment, is more effective than a mastectomy at eliminating any remaining cancer cells. It's an especially important finding since there has recently been "interest in mastectomy to treat early stage breast cancers, despite the research supporting lumpectomy," explains the lead researcher. (Read more breast cancer stories.)