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15 April 2009
Early stage breast cancer sufferers choosing double mastectomies

A new study claims to have found a dramatic increase in the number of women diagnosed with the earliest stage of breast cancer choosing to have both breasts surgically removed.

According to researcher Todd Tuttle, M.D., the rate of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) surgery among U.S. women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) increased by 188 percent between 1998 and 2005.

"The 10-year survival rate for women with DCIS is 98 to 99 percent," Tuttle said. "Therefore, removal of the normal contralateral breast will not improve the excellent survival rates for this group of women. Nevertheless, many women, particularly young women, are choosing to have both breasts removed."

In a previous research study, Tuttle and his colleagues found more American women choosing to have both breasts removed when cancer has been found in only one breast. This new study indicates the same attitude among women with DCIS, described as the earliest stage of breast cancer when the cancer is small and confined within a duct area of the breast.

At this stage, the disease is considered highly treatable with breast-conserving surgery and radiation or hormone therapy. However, if the cancer is aggressive in nature or the woman is not in treatment, DCIS can progress either into invasive, more serious cancer in the affected breast, or it can develop in the other healthy breast.

Related:
Double Mastectomy Increasingly Favored

Source: University of Minnesota


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