Background: It is well established that disease-free survival and overall survival after breast conservation surgery (BCS) followed by radiotherapy are equivalent to that after mastectomy. However, in Asian countries, the rate of BCS continues to remain low. The cause may be multifactorial including the patient’s choice, availability and accessibility of infrastructure and surgeon’s choice. We aimed to elucidate the Indian surgeons’ perspective while choosing between BCS and mastectomy, in women oncologically eligible for BCS.
Methods: We conducted a survey-based cross-sectional study over 3 weeks between January-February 2021. Indian surgeons with general surgical or specialised onco-surgical training, who consented to participate were included in the study. Multinomial logistic regression was performed to assess the effect of study variables on offering mastectomy or BCS to an eligible patient.
Results: A total of 347 responses were included. The mean age of the participants was 43(11) years. 63% of the surgeons were in the 25-44 years age group with the majority (80%) being males. 66.4% of surgeons ‘almost always’ offered BCS to oncologically eligible patients. Surgeons who had undergone specialised training in oncosurgery or breast conservation surgery were 35 times more likely to offer BCS (p<0.01). Surgeons working in hospitals with in-house radiation oncology facilities were 9 times more likely to offer BCS (p<0.05). Surgeons’ years of practice, age, sex and hospital setting did not influence the surgery offered.
Conclusion: Our study found that two-thirds of Indian surgeons preferred BCS over mastectomy. Lack of radiotherapy facilities and specialised surgical training were deterrents to offering BCS to eligible women.