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Most breast cancer surgeons don't talk to patients about reconstruction options, U-M study finds
Date:12/20/2007

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Only a third of patients with breast cancer discussed breast reconstruction options with their surgeon before their initial surgery, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Whats more, women who did discuss reconstruction up front were four times more likely to have a mastectomy compared to those women who did not discuss reconstruction.

The surgical decision making for breast cancer is really centered on patient preference. Long-term outcomes are the same regardless of whether a woman is treated with a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. But that choice could have significant impact on a womans quality of life, sexuality and body image. Its important for women to understand all of their surgical options including breast reconstruction so they can make the best choice for themselves, says study author Amy Alderman, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of plastic surgery at the U-M Medical School.

The study appears Dec. 21 in the online version of the journal Cancer, and will appear in the Feb. 1 print edition.

The study looked at 1,178 women from the Detroit and Los Angeles metropolitan areas who had undergone surgery for breast cancer. Patients were contacted about three months after diagnosis and were asked whether they had discussed breast reconstruction with their surgeon before their surgery. Patients were also asked whether knowing about reconstruction options affected their decision to receive a mastectomy.

The researchers found that younger and more educated women were more likely to discuss reconstruction with their surgeon. They also found that this discussion significantly affected a womans treatment decision, with women who knew about reconstruction options four times more likely to choose a mastectomy.

Breast reconstruction can be performed immediately after a mastectomy, which removes the entire breast. This type of reconstruction leads to
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Contact: Nicole Fawcett
nfawcett@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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