The doctors were unable to explain why the patients who have undergone breast cancer surgery had cancer spread to other areas within 18 months after surgery.
A study has revealed that the healing process after lumpectomy or mastectomy triggers the spread of cancer cells.
According to the findings, when the body is healing, the scars and the immune system stop filtering or controlling the cancer cells that have moved away from the earlier cancer site. The study of the spread of cancer cells during healing was published in Science Translational Medicine.
When the immune system is not able to restrain these wandering cancer cells, they will grow to become new tumors which are more dangerous.
Robert Weinberg, the senior author of the study and a biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that it is not the surgery, which is creating the problem, but the post-surgical healing of the wound.
He says that the wound healing response provokes the disseminated cancer cells to grow into metastases which can be clinically detected. The study also suggests a simple solution for this problem: anti-inflammatory drugs.
According to the study, using anti-inflammatory therapy in mice prevented the immune brake and stopped the spread of cancer cells. Though same results were seen people, further studies are needed to confirm the benefits.