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Increase seen in use of double mastectomy
Date:9/2/2014

Among women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in California, the percentage undergoing a double mastectomy increased substantially between 1998 and 2011, although this procedure was not associated with a lower risk of death than breast-conserving surgery plus radiation, according to a study in the September 3 issue of JAMA. The authors did find that surgery for the removal of one breast was associated with a higher risk of death than the other options examined in the study.

Randomized trials have demonstrated similar survival for patients with early-stage breast cancer treated with breast-conserving surgery and radiation or with mastectomy. However, previous data show increasing use of mastectomy, and particularly bilateral mastectomy (removal of both breasts) among U.S. patients with breast cancer. Evidence for a survival benefit with this procedure appears limited to rare patient subgroups. "Because bilateral mastectomy is an elective procedure for unilateral breast cancer [in one breast] and may have detrimental effects in terms of complications and associated costs as well as body image and sexual function, a better understanding of its use and outcomes is crucial to improving cancer care," according to background information in the article.

Allison W. Kurian, M.D., M.Sc., of the Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif., and colleagues used data from the California Cancer Registry from 1998 through 2011 to compare the use of and rate of death after bilateral mastectomy, breast-conserving therapy with radiation, and unilateral mastectomy (removal of one breast).

The analyses included 189,734 patients. The researchers found that the rate of bilateral mastectomy increased from 2.0 percent in 1998 to 12.3 percent in 2011, an annual increase of 14.3 percent. The increase in bilateral mastectomy rate was greatest among women younger than 40 years: the rate increased from 3.6 percent in 1998 to 33.0 percent
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Contact: Jana Cuiper
Jana.Cuiper@cpic.org
510-608-5160
The JAMA Network Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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