Undergoing a preventive double mastectomy does not improve a woman’s overall sense of well-being, though breast reconstruction did boost a woman’s satisfaction with her body, as well as improve her sex life, a study says. Mastectomy outcomes, particularly long-term ones, are the focus of a University of Michigan study we are following, with new research to be published this year.
Several decades ago, hospitals abandoned a trend called drive-through mastectomy, when women stayed less than a day. Why was it abandoned and what do you think of this trend? We’d like to hear from you.
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The move to double mastectomy among American women, most of whom have early-stage breast cancer, continues, particularly among young women, raising concerns that two decades of public education about the benefits of lumpectomy and radiation are getting eroded. The high rates of re-operation after a first lumpectomy are part of the reason, which some surgeons are addressing by taking slightly more tissue to avoid another operation. The issue of repeat lumpectomies is an issue top surgeons say must be addressed if medicine wants to reach more women with the message that survival of women with lumpectomy and radiation is equal to mastectomy.
Sharon Kiley Heck, 69, of Ft. Wright, KY is happy with her decision 23 years ago to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction after being diagnosed with lobular cancer in one of her breasts. Both her mother and sister had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer. “I just didn’t want the hammer hanging over me anymore,” she said.
Mastectomy now is more common than lumpectomy, a significant trend in the last decade, say Dr. Lisa Newman and Dr. Adeyiza Momoh, a top breast cancer surgery and construction team at the University of Michigan. It makes the decision about mastectomy versus lumpectomy particularly important these days, they say. These choices will be explored in our new book and on bcsurgerystories.com. Add your voice.