New study questions need for many double mastectomies

Capital News Service
LANSING – A new study from the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center shows that 70 percent of breast cancer patients who undergo double-mastectomy surgery have no clinical reason for doing so. The study attributes that finding primarily to psychological factors, such as fear of cancer recurrence. Sarah Hawley, a U-M professor and co-author of the study, said removing both breasts is a radical step that’s unnecessary for most patients. “Women appear to be using worry over cancer recurrence to choose a double mastectomy,” Hawley said. “This doesn’t make sense because having a non-affected breast removed will not reduce the risk of recurrence in the affected breast.”
The study reported on 1,446 women who had been treated for breast cancer and who hadn’t had a recurrence.