Belfast Telegraph

Home News Health

Necessity of double double mastectomies questioned

By John von Radowitz

Nearly three-quarters of women who have both breasts removed after a cancer diagnosis may be wrong to take the drastic step, a study has suggested.

Researchers who studied 1,447 women treated for breast cancer found that 8% of them had undergone a double mastectomy.

But 70% of these women did not meet the medically approved criteria for losing both breasts – a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutations.

They had a very low risk of developing cancer in the healthy breast, the US scientists said.

Study leader Dr Sarah Hawley, from the University of Michigan, said: "Women appear to be using worry over cancer recurrence to choose contralateral prophylactic mastectomy.

"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."

The research, published in the journal JAMA Surgery, also found that 18% of the women studied had considered a double mastectomy. About three-quarters of the patients reported being very worried about their cancer. Those who chose to have both breasts removed were significantly more likely to be concerned.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph