Double Mastectomy Might Not Improve Survival Rates

Women diagnosed with breast cancer sometimes choose to undergo a double mastectomy in hopes that it will eliminate the disease and increase their chance of survival. However, a study by researchers at Stanford University and the Cancer Prevention Institute of California found that having both breasts removed may not do much to improve survival rates compared to women who only have the tumor removed.

According to Stanford University, the study involved nearly 200,000 women in California who were treated for cancer in one breast. The 10-year survival rate for women who had lumpectomies was approximately 82 percent. Those who had both breasts removed had a slightly lower 10-year survival rate. 

The source stated that when the causes of death were considered among the women who participated in the study, women who underwent a double mastectomy didn't have a much higher survival rate than those who had a lumpectomy.

The results were surprising considering the number of women opting for double mastectomies increased 12 percent between 1998 and 2011, according to the San Francisco Gate. Approximately 33 percent of women younger than age 40 are having double mastectomies done as a preventative measure. Researchers believe that the rise in double mastectomies may be due to the announcement made by actress Angelina Jolie in 2013 that she had the procedure done as a precaution when she discovered she was carrying the BRCA gene mutation.

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