More cancer patients opt to remove healthy breasts -

More cancer patients opt to remove healthy breasts

Numbers on the rise, new U.S. studies show


Although advocates have long argued in favour of removing only cancerous breast tissue, instead of the whole breast, a growing number of women with breast cancer are now pushing to have cancerous breast removed—and healthy ones, too. “I just didn’t want to worry about it,” Liliana Holtzman, 50, a Michigan art director in Ann Arbor, Mich., who had both breasts removed after a cancer diagnosis, told the New York Times. “It was for my own peace of mind. I wanted to do everything I could.” In fact, the percentage of women having both breasts removed after cancer has more than doubled: 6 per cent of women having surgery for breast cancer opted for this in 2006 (the procedure is called contralateral prophylactic mastectomy). Among women in their 40s who had breast cancer surgery, one in 10 decided to have both breasts removed, according to a new University of Minnesota study. The procedure is also most popular among those with the earliest, most treatable forms of cancer. Those who had Stage 0 cancer, or precancer, saw the rate of double mastectomy rise to 5.2 per cent in 2005, up from 2.1 per cent in 1998, according to a study last year. For most women, removing a healthy breast doesn’t improve the odds of survival.

New York Times

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