Prophylactic mastectomy on other breast increasing

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It wasn't surprising to me today to hear data that showed a large increase in women choosing prophylactic mastectomy on the side not affected by breast cancer. You can read the details of the study in a brief from Laura Biel in Day 3 coverage of the symposium, but in a nutshell it showed that a woman diagnosed with breast cancer is more likely to undergo prophylactic mastectomy if she has an MRI and biopsy of the healthy breast during treatment. The 3,000 women were studied between 1997 and 2005, while researchers were trying to explain why mastectomy rates are increasing. I wish I could sit down and talk to these researchers, because I think I understand exactly why women want the other breast removed – fear. And, while there weren't details on why they used MRI in the presentation, MRI is not the first line diagnostic tool. This tells me the medical professionals were not able to determine the status of the second breast, a scary piece of information for women. I agree that women with DCIS may be overreacting to choose to remove both breasts, but, you know what, after being diagnosed in 1986 with stage 2b breast cancer at age 37, I begged them to take off both breasts. I had a 1-year old and I wanted to be around to raise her. Back then they wouldn't consider it, but I wished I had fought them when, in 2007, I got DCIS in my other breast and underwent a second mastectomy.This kind of story is out there more than anyone knows and women talk. In addition, with breast cancer being publicized the way it is, it's very much seen as a killer. When you have one breast that betrays you, it makes sense that you want the other one gone, and the younger you are the more motivated you are. The women I've talked to who demanded prophylactic mastectomy were not going to be deterred, but most of these women had advanced diagnoses. I think that removing both breasts remains a decision to be made by a woman, her loved ones and her doctors.