MASSDEVICE ON CALL — The majority of women who’ve had both breasts removed following a breast cancer diagnosis probably didn’t need to take such drastic measures, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center reported that as much as 70% of women who opted for a double mastectomy following breast cancer did so despite a very low risk of recurrence.
"Women appear to be using worry over cancer recurrence to choose contralateral prophylactic mastectomy," U-M Medical School associate professor Sarah Hawley said in prepared remarks. "This does not make sense, because having a non-affected breast removed will not reduce the risk of recurrence in the affected breast."
"For women who do not have a strong family history or a genetic finding, we would argue it’s probably not appropriate to get the unaffected breast removed," she added.
Among more than 1,400 women evaluated in the study, 8% had opted for a double mastectomy and 18% considered having one, researchers said. Of those that had the drastic surgery, nearly 70% had no family history or positive genetic test indicating an increased risk for breast cancer.
"But, a diagnosis of breast cancer in one breast does not increase the likelihood of breast cancer recurring in the other breast for most women," the authors wrote.
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