Women diagnosed with localized breast cancer are increasingly deciding to have both breasts removed even when the tumor is small and found in only one side, according to recent study from the University of Minnesota.
This trend troubles some oncologists who believe that women may base this decision on the hope that a double mastectomy will increase their survival or make breast reconstruction easier or more successful after surgery.
In fact, many studies show no survival benefit to removing both breasts for most women with early stage tumors, and double mastectomies come with more risks and complications than less invasive unilateral mastectomies.
“Nevertheless, many women, particularly young women, are choosing to have both breasts removed,” states Dr. Tood Tuttle author of the study and professor of oncology surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Dr. Tuttle reported a three-fold increase in women choosing bilateral mastectomies from 1998 to 2005 even though they were diagnosed with a highly treatable, non-invasive type of early stage breast cancer, DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ).
He believes that further research is needed to examine how women make their decisions about breast cancer treatments and surgery, and more should be known about the role physicians have in this process.
For more details on this report, click on:
Science Daily article, 2009: “More Women with Early-stage Breast Cancer Choosing Double Mastectomies,” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090409103354.htm
Tuttle, T. March 2009. J Clin Oncology. Abstract:
See EmpowHer related links:
EmpowHer Breast Cancer page with videos and featured articles: http://www.empowher.com/condition/breast-cancer
EmpowHer Article related to Breast Cancer and Hormone Replacement Therapy: http://www.empowher.com/media/article/drop-breast-cancer-rate-may-be-related-fewer-women-using-hormone-replacement-therapy
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