Breast cancer has been one of the most common types of cancer present in women today. Some are lucky to have the cancer detected during the early stage while some have to go through the emotional turmoil of deciding whether to remove the breast cancerous tissues or opt for extensive chemotherapy. Modern women usually opt for double mastectomy hoping that the cancer will disappear. This should not be the case, and even doctors think that women with breast cancer should save whatever is left.
The survival rate with breast removal
There is no great evidence on the real cause of breast cancer. However, lifestyle and genetic predispositions are the common influencing factors for the development of breast cancer. Some do not have a history of breast cancer in their family, yet they still find themselves in the middle of a breast cancer battle. Regardless of its occurrence, a study reveals that saving the good breast has a better mortality rate than having a double mastectomy.
Women who have breast cancer usually go through the process of surgery and chemotherapy, for others, they go through radiation and other sources of killing the cancer cells. Still, these procedures cannot guarantee security to women, thus leading them to choose mastectomy. The procedure called the Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy (CPM) appears to offer a viable solution against breast cancer and it is viewed as a better option than a reconstructive surgery.
A study reveals that there is no concrete evidence that women who underwent CPM lived longer than those who decided to undergo the normal procedure of surgery, combined with chemotherapy or radiation. Based on a statistical record in California and taking the record to a 10 year rate of survival, women who opt for double mastectomy reached 81.2 %, whereas those who choose to undergo the normal procedure by way of surgery and chemotherapy reached 83.2 %. Women who chose to save one breast and opt for mastectomy on the other fairly made it to 79.9 % survival rate.
Even with studies proving that double mastectomy is not the answer to the elimination of breast cancer, more women still opt to undergo CPM, increasing its percentage occurrence by 14% a year. The alarming increase of the choice of CPM was based on JAMA’s record in 1998 in which women who suffer from breast cancer stages 0-1 and chose CPM increased from 2 % to 12.3 %.
Is double mastectomy a good choice?
While this statistic alarmed researchers and doctors, patients still believe they have a better chance of living and prolonging their healthy lifestyle if they choose the CPM or the total removal of both breasts.
In a span of 13 years, women who had breast cancer under the age of 39 chose to undergo CPM. This increased the rate of CPM procedure from 3.6 % to 33 %. Double mastectomy is normally chosen by women with breast cancer for several reasons. First, they think they have a better chance of totally removing the cancer. They also believe that by undergoing CPM, they will reduce the risk of a relapse. Another thing women take into consideration is the plastic surgery that can be done after. They believe reconstructive surgery will be easier if they have a double mastectomy.
Women who are faced with breast cancer should know the importance of saving the good breast. Dr. Lisa Newman encourages other doctors to make sure they educate their patients regarding the advantage and disadvantages of going under double mastectomy. Newman wrote, “women who discover they have breast cancer instantly want the most aggressive way to eliminate the breast cancer, not minding the consequences.”