Recent studies show the amount of women with breast cancer choosing to have mastectomies has increased up to 36% in the past eight years.

According to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or AHRQ for short, the number of women having double mastectomies tripled since 2005. Curiously enough, double mastectomies appear to be happening at a younger age in women, said the report from the AHRQ. The double mastectomy procedure is necessary for women with a genetic risk for breast cancer even before it’s being diagnosed.

Photo: Telegraph UK
Photo: Telegraph UK

This preventive measure appears to gain popularity as the number of women having double mastectomies has increased dramatically. It’s worth noticing that half of the patients who undergo the mastectomy procedure can leave on the same day. This may have to do with the fact more women are choosing to have mastectomies given the ease and speed the procedure provides. However, investigators argue that lumpectomy and mastectomy are as effective as any other, especially in early stages of the disease.

Surgeries accompanied by radiation treatments have been shown to be as effective as mastectomy while having fewer complications, the study shows. Researchers are still trying to determine the reasons behind the rapid increase of women undergoing mastectomy procedures without even having breast cancer. Some of which would categorize this type of procedure as unnecessary.

Unnecessary yet appealing safety measures

The concerns regarding the mastectomy subject are based on the actual necessity of having the procedure done when an option such as lumpectomy can work as well. According to the study’s data, the rate of women without cancer getting preventative double mastectomies doubled since 2005. It appears as if the mastectomies are some sort of ‘drive-thru’ procedure due to the high amount of people deciding not to spend even one night after having surgery.

The report shows changing attitudes toward health and a new approach to the mastectomy treatment as a preventive measure for breast cancer patients, said AHRQ Director Rick Kronick. The announcement of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality on the matter shows the possibility of decreasing the chance of developing cancer in more accessible ways for people.

“Some of the reasons behind this trend are likely due to increased genetic screening,” said Chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital Dr. Bernik. “Improved reconstruction options and a woman’s desire to potentially reduce the chance of developing a breast cancer in the opposite breast”.

In an impressive turn, the study found that most women who had cancer in only one breast decided to have the other one removed as well. Other studies can confirm this peculiar decision made by breast cancer patients. The overall survival rate of breast cancer patients who underwent mastectomy or lumpectomy is the same, said Dr. Stephanie Bernik.

Source: NPR