Cutress, R.I., Gupta, R., Parakh, A., Rutter, D., Spencer, L. and Royle, G.T.
Might patients benefit from oral iron therapy following operative treatment of breast carcinoma?
European Journal of Surgical Oncology, 27, (7), . (doi:10.1053/ejso.2001.1205). (PMID:11669588).
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Aims: To assess the changes in blood haemoglobin concentration and serum iron indices as a consequence of breast operations for cancer in our unit.
Methods: Haematological parameters were measured in 109 patients undergoing definitive operative treatment for breast carcinoma.
Results: A mean fall in haemoglobin of 2.1 g (P=0.001) occurred in patients undergoing mastectomy and axillary clearance and of 1.3 g (P<0.001) in patients undergoing wide local excision and axillary clearance. The transferrin saturation (serum iron/total iron binding capacity) in both sets of patients after surgery fell on average to levels that would be expected to impair subsequent red cell production.
Conclusion: The changes in iron indices that occurred were unrelated to the degree of blood loss consistent with a possible inflammatory effect of the operation. Oral iron therapy is unlikely to be of benefit to operative breast patients if they have normal pre-operative iron stores.
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