Cancer Patients Removing Healthy Breasts, Too

Double mastectomy growing in popularity
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2010 1:45 PM CST
A cancer holds her reconstructed breast after a mastectomy in this file photo.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – More and more women diagnosed with breast cancer are choosing to have their healthy breast removed along with the cancerous one. In 2006, 6% of women undergoing breast cancer surgery opted for such a double mastectomy, a figure that’s more than double what it was in recent years, the New York Times reports. “I just didn’t want to worry about it,” explains one woman. “It was for my own peace of mind.”

But a recent study shows that the procedure, which is officially known as a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, has virtually no recognizable effect on long-term cancer survival. “A lot of patients coming into my clinic are asking for it,” says the doctor who conducted the study. “We haven’t given them good information. Part of my hope with this study is to tell most breast cancer patients that it’s OK not to do this.”

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