Preventative Mastectomy: The Procedure's Rates Are on the Rise, But Why? by Dr. Shayna Mancuso
Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy due to her genetic predisposition to breast cancer brought this subject into the spotlight in 2013. Today, a team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego, discovered that fear of cancer recurrence was the primary reason patients chose a preventative mastectomy, also known as a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM). The rate of CPM has doubled in the past 10 years, despite unclear evidence of its benefit.
CPM is a procedure in which patients with early stage breast cancer in one breast opt to remove both breasts. The researchers also discovered that patients believe CPM is the best treatment for their cancer. The patients also stated that CPM was being recommended to them to optimize cosmetic reconstruction. This unique study may provide physicians with a better understanding of patients' fears and beliefs, and doctors may work closely with their patients to clear up any misconceptions.
When discussing treatment options with your doctor, keep the following in mind:
- Be well informed – know the facts!
- Discuss your family history and past medical history with your doctor.
- Discuss all risks and benefits of the surgery with your treatment team, including options regarding breast reconstruction.
- If you are a low-risk patient, discuss your options for early detection and risk reduction.
- Talk about your fears and concerns with your doctor. Ultimately, what matters most is having a sense of peace regarding your medical decisions.
You can read more about this study here.