A mastectomy is a surgery to remove the breast and is commonly performed either to treat or prevent breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) this procedure is only performed on high-risk patients, but that is no longer the case.
Prophylactic contralateral mastectomies have become increasingly more common. You may ask, “What is that?” A prophylactic mastectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a healthy breast that does not have any evidence of breast cancer. A prophylactic contralateral mastectomy occurs when a woman with breast cancer opts to have the affected breast removed as well as the healthy breast at the same time. Now you may ask, “Why?”
The decision to have either type of prophylactic mastectomy is made by women who wish to reduce their risk of breast cancer occurring or recurring. The Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) recommends that women should consider it if they have known mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene or have strong family history of breast cancer.
According to a recent survey, it’s not the SSO recommendation that’s driving the increase in prophylactic contralateral mastectomies, but fear. Approximately 80 percent of women who underwent prophylactic mastectomy did not have any clinical indications that would classify them as a high-risk for recurrence.
“Worry about recurrence had a strong influence on receipt of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, although the procedure has not been associated with reducing risk,” said Dr. Sarah Hawley of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
This survey was conducted by Hawley and her colleagues. They surveyed 2,245 women from Detroit and L.A. registries of the NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program.
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital’s FirstHealth Cancer Services takes a multidisciplinary team approach to the best breast cancer treatment options available. Learn more about breast cancer treatment options and other cancers we treat at nccancercare.org. FirstHealth treats cancer patients and survivors in the Pinehurst, Raeford, Sanford, Lumberton, Laurinburg, Rockingham, and Troy regions of North Carolina and beyond.