Double mastectomy after breast cancer is pointless for most women, experts find

Rates of prophylactic mastectomy have tripled in past decade despite no survival benefit

Double Mastectomy image
The latest data show that more women are removing healthy breasts to avoid cancer. But that isn’t helping them to prevent the disease or to survive longer.

Abstract

Growing Use of Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Despite no Improvement in Long-term Survival for Invasive Breast Cancer, Annals of Surgery, doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000001698, March 8, 2016.

Objective
To update and examine national temporal trends in contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) and determine whether survival differed for invasive breast cancer patients based on hormone receptor (HR) status and age.

Methods
We identified women diagnosed with unilateral stage I to III breast cancer between 1998 and 2012 within the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry. We compared characteristics and temporal trends between patients undergoing breast-conserving surgery, unilateral mastectomy, and CPM. We then performed Cox proportional-hazards regression to examine breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS) and overall survival (OS) in women diagnosed between 1998 and 2007, who underwent breast-conserving surgery with radiation (breast-conserving therapy), unilateral mastectomy, or CPM, with subsequent subgroup analysis stratifying by age and HR status.

Results
Of 496,488 women diagnosed with unilateral invasive breast cancer, 59.6% underwent breast-conserving surgery, 33.4% underwent unilateral mastectomy, and 7.0% underwent CPM. Overall, the proportion of women undergoing CPM increased from 3.9% in 2002 to 12.7% in 2012 (P < 0.001). Reconstructive surgery was performed in 48.3% of CPM patients compared with only 16.0% of unilateral mastectomy patients, with rates of reconstruction with CPM rising from 35.3% in 2002 to 55.4% in 2012 (P < 0.001). When compared with breast-conserving therapy, we found no significant improvement in BCSS or OS for women undergoing CPM (BCSS: HR 1.08, 95% confidence interval 1.01-1.16; OS: HR 1.08, 95% confidence interval 1.03-1.14), regardless of HR status or age.

Rates of prophylactic mastectomy have tripled in past decade despite no survival benefit, BRIGHAM AND WOMEN’S HOSPITAL, eurekalert, 11-MAR-2016.

Conclusions
The use of CPM more than tripled during the study period despite evidence suggesting no survival benefit over breast conservation. Further examination on how to optimally counsel women about surgical options is warranted.

Author: DES Daughter

Activist, blogger and social media addict committed to shedding light on a global health scandal and dedicated to raise DES awareness.

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