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Breast cancer patients with bilateral mastectomy don't have better survival rates
Date:9/2/2014

he course or effectiveness of their cancer treatment. They may also have had difficulty securing transportation to radiation appointments or had other barriers in access to care, according to Gomez and Kurian.

Physicians in California are legally required to report all cancer cases in the state to the Cancer Registry. The researchers used this data to assess the outcomes of women diagnosed with stages 0 to 3 unilateral breast cancer that is, cancer affecting only one breast in the state from 1998 to 2011.

The registry is unique because it includes information about nearly every cancer case in the state. It captures important information, such as the stage of the disease, the surgical outcome chosen by the patient and her physician, and whether the patient eventually died from her disease. It also includes information about the patient's racial or ethnic background and where she lived.

"The registry allows us to do a population-based study to gain a real-world picture of cancer cases in California," said Kurian. "We can ask and answer questions that couldn't be answered in a randomized clinical trial." For example, Kurian and Gomez point out that it would not be ethical to assign a woman randomly to one of the three common surgical options. But using the registry, they can simply track who received which intervention.

Despite the fact that women who removed both breasts did not have better survival rates, the study found that rapidly increasing numbers of women are opting for the complex surgery, which requires a long recovery period and possibly reconstructive surgery.

The bilateral mastectomy procedure is particularly prevalent among non-Hispanic white women younger than 40 who have private insurance and receive care at a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. In fact, 33 percent of women under age 40 received bilateral mastectomies in 2011, compared with 3.6 percent in 1998. (The prevalence of bilateral m
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Contact: Krista Conger
kristac@stanford.edu
650-725-5371
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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