According to a recent study, a lot of women suffering breast cancer in one breast believe, more than what actually happens, that they would develop cancer in the second breast. As a result to this false-idea of developing another breast cancer, a lot of patients tend to undergo preventive surgery for breast removal.
The surgical interference is known as prophylactic mastectomy. The study mentioned that the number of women choosing to carry it out has "almost doubled in recent times without any evidence of survival benefit and the reasons for this need to be addressed and alternative strategies considered," Dr. Ajay Sahu, a consultant breast surgeon at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, England, said. He added that when women were advised and had time offered to think about their decision, a lot of them refused to have prophylactic mastectomy.
Sahu added that the study included 27 patients, aged 31 to 65, who were identified to have breast cancer between 2007 and 2009. They all performed surgery on one breast and thought that they should remove the other breast. Sahu mentioned that the women had an idea of being under a higher risk of having cancer in the other breast by five to 10 times. He mentioned that when giving patients some time to think again about their choice, in about 12 months "cooling-off" times a lot of them decided not to have the surgery. Sahu commented "Patients were happy with the alternative strategy to prophylactic surgery: in other words, they had an understanding of actual risk of bilateral breast cancer, an understanding that the risk can be reduced by treatment and surveillance by annual mammography, and that no survival benefit is conferred by the operation." This study was highlighted at the European Breast Cancer Conference taking place in Barcelona, Spain this month.