Question

Breast Cancer Treatment

What is a double mastectomy?

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  • ADede Bonner, Health Education, answered

    Some women have both breasts removed in what’s called a double mastectomy. A double mastectomy is sometimes used as a preventive measure for high-risk women. There are also women who opt to eliminate as much chance of cancer recurrence as possible by having a double mastectomy.

    A study reported by the National Research Center for Women and Families found that half of the women whom experts deem eligible for lumpectomy chose a mastectomy instead. In fact, an increasing number of women are choosing to have mastectomies over breast-conserving surgery.

    Cancer surgeon Todd Tuttle, M.D., Chief of Surgical Oncology at the University of Minnesota, has noted a growing number of double mastectomies, especially among younger women. “I think this is an emotional decision. Women want to avoid this awful experience again. But I’m always concerned that this decision is rushed just because of the nature of breast cancer.”

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