Is Double Mastectomy Lifesaving?  E-mail
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News - Raw Food Leaders
Friday, 17 October 2014 23:00
The only reason to remove both breasts when a woman has been diagnosed with early breast cancer is if she has a strong family history of the disease and has tested positive for one of the genetic mutations associated with breast cancer. Otherwise, the risk of cancer developing in the opposite breast is very small; the greater risk is that the disease will spread to other parts of the body.Related Weil Products %%RELATED_DOC%% %%title%% - %%summary%% However, a 2014 survey revealed that more than half of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer consider - or go ahead with - a double mastectomy in the misguided belief that this drastic option is their best guarantee of a cure and long-term survival. The surgery, called contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM), is becoming more common.Results of the survey of 150 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer were presented September 4 at the 2014 Breast Cancer Symposium in San Francisco. They showed that 58 percent of the women participating wanted or considered a double mastectomy as soon as they were diagnosed. The researchers reported that almost two thirds of these women had a family history of breast cancer but noted that of the nearly one-quarter of the women surveyed who said they did not want both breasts removed, half also had a family history of the disease.The survey also found that women who considered a double mastectomy were less knowledgeable about breast cancer than other women participating in the survey. A total of 68 percent of them believed that having both breasts removed would reduce the risk of a recurrence. Those women also believed their risk of breast cancer was higher than average, were more likely to be very worried about getting cancer elsewhere in the body and were quite worried about how a spouse or partner would feel about their changed body.A study from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis found that based on existing data, more than 98 percent of women diagnosed with stage I breast cancer will survive at least 10 years, and 90 percent will survive for 20 years. For stage II breast cancer, 77 percent survive for at least 10 years and 58 percent survive at least 20 years. The researchers reported that for all age groups and tumor types studied, the risk of developing cancer in the opposite breast was less than one percent per year and calculated that a double mastectomy in these cases would add at most only seven months of life expectancy for women diagnosed with stage I breast cancer and less than four months for those whose disease was found when it had reached stage II. They said that these findings apply only to women who do not have a genetic mutation that increases their risk.Bear in mind that having a double mastectomy when there is early cancer in one breast doubles the risk of surgical complications.A diagnosis of breast cancer can be frightening. It is important for women to take the time to learn about the pros and cons of all of their treatment options. A double mastectomy may seem like a good choice, but in most cases, it will not give women a better chance of long-term survival.Andrew Weil, M.D.Sources: Todd M. Tuttle et al, "Survival Outcomes After Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy: A Decision Analysis." Journal of the National Cancer Institute, doi: 10.1093/jnci/dju160Stephen G. Pauker and Mohamed Alseiari, "How Big Is Big Enough? Thinking About Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy," Journal of the National Cancer Institute, doi: 10.1093/jnci/dju175Shoshana M. Rosenberg and Ann H. Partridge, "Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy An Opportunity for Shared Decision Making" JAMA Surgery, doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.5713

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