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Recent Study Shows That Prophylactic Mastectomy Is on the Rise

Would You Undergo a Mastectomy to Protect Yourself From Breast Cancer?

A diagnosis of breast cancer is a life-changing moment that will affect almost 200,000 women this year. If faced with the diagnosis, one question your doctor will ask you to consider is whether or not you would remove a non-cancerous breast to protect yourself against the disease. The procedure is called prophylactic mastectomy, and a recent study shows that it's on the rise.

The study, conducted by the American Cancer Society, found that patients in New York who had cancer in one breast but also removed their non-cancerous breast doubled during the period of 1995-2005. During that same period there was also a slight increase in cancer-free patients who chose to remove both healthy breasts. It's likely that these women were at high risk because of family history, or they tested positive for the gene mutation associated with the disease. This is why actress Christina Applegate opted for the double mastectomy.

Although prophylactic mastectomy dramatically reduces the risk of developing breast cancer in the future, it has not been shown to increase the chances of survival from already existing breast cancer. However, many patients choose to undergo the procedure to quell anxiety.

As we begin our coverage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am curious to know what you would do in this situation . . .


Image Source: Getty
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