A growing trend of women with cancer in one breast getting a double mastectomy does not appear to bring longevity or quality of life benefits.
For years, doctors and researchers have been concerned about a surprising trend: More and more women with early-stage cancer in one breast were choosing to have double mastectomies to reduce the risk of cancer in the other.
Many of the patients said they thought an aggressive approach would help their quality of life by lessening their worries about future cancer and making them more comfortable with their bodies.
But new evidence released Monday shows that the surgery doesn’t improve peace of mind or quality of life very much.
Researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute surveyed thousands of women who had cancer in a single breast and underwent single and double mastectomies. They wanted to see whether the double-mastectomy patients were less anxious, more satisfied with their physical appearance and more confident in their sexuality. They found that the double-mastectomy group had only a slight edge — primarily among women who had undergone breast reconstruction.