Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No better survival for women who choose double mastectomies

CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 2, 2014 – A study of breast cancer treatment has shown no survival advantage for women who have surgery to remove both breasts.

The study of nearly 190,000 California women with cancer is the first to directly compare survival rates of the three most common surgical therapies used to treat breast cancer in one breast. The study published in the Sept. 2, Journal of the American Medical Association confirms results of a July study showing only modest increase in survival for women with early stage breast cancer. 

In the California study researchers led by Allison Kurian, MD, an assistant professor of medicine and of health research and policy at Stanford analyzed the survival outcomes of women treated between 1998 and 2011 with cancer in one breast treated with bilateral mastectomy (removal of both breasts), unilateral mastectomy (removal of one breast) or lumpectomy (breast sparing surgery that removes only the tumor).

During the study 55 percent received a lumpectomy with follow-up radiation, 38.8 received a unilateral mastectomy and 6.2 percent received a bilateral mastectomy. The researchers found no statistically significant difference in survival between the women who underwent lumpectomy and radiation and those who had bilateral mastectomy. Women who underwent single mastectomy had slightly lower survival. 

The researchers did the study because the number of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer and opting for double mastectomy is increasing with 12 percent of women choosing that option in 2011.

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