If you're young with early-stage breast cancer, a mastectomy isn't your only option for treatment, according to a study by the University of Maryland.

Researchers found that a lumpectomy and radiation is just as viable.

The results of the analysis of nearly 15,000 patients listed in a nationwide cancer registry were being presented at the 2011 Breast Cancer Symposium in San Francisco this week.

The researchers said that mastectomies have been on the rise among young women because of concerns regarding cancer recurrence.

"We believe these findings are very significant for young women with early-stage breast cancer who might choose to have a mastectomy in the hope of improving their outcome," Steven J. Feigenberg, a radiation oncologist at the University of Maryland and lead author of the study, said in a statement. "This study confirms that breast-conservation therapy is a safe, effective treatment option and will not have a detrimental effect on survival."

Women younger than 40 can have more aggressive tumors and are often at higher risk for having their cancer recur. Previous studies have suggested that young women have higher local recurrences of their cancer with breast-conservation therapy, but these studies did not demonstrate an effect on survival, Dr. Feigenberg said.

Reach out

American Cancer Society: cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer

Breast cancer overview, detailed guide, treatment decision tool, news, research and prevention. Includes local office locator.

Discussion boards, blog, chat rooms, ask-the-expert online conferences, email updates, booklets, recommended reading and links, medical expense tax deduction information.

National Cancer Institute: cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/breast

Treatment, prevention, causes, clinical trials, cancer literature, research, screening and testing. 800-4-CANCER. LiveHelp online chat available.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure: komen.org

Comprehensive information and links to your local affiliate office, including community-based education and screening and treatment programs.

Free housecleaning for those with breast cancer: cleaningforareason.org

This nationwide nonprofit coordinates free maid service for women who are undergoing treatment. Call 877-337-3348.

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