A new study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology says that most women, who opt for a preventive mastectomy to prevent the cancer from spreading to the normal breast, do not regret their decision. The study surveyed 519 women who had opted to have their second breast removed after they were diagnosed with breast cancer in a single breast.
Researchers of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina found that 87 percent of them were satisfied with their decision even after a long period of time. These women also gave high ratings to their quality of life and were no different to women who did not opt for a preventive mastectomy. "It is important to remember that preventive mastectomy is a major surgical procedure likely appropriate for a very small percentage of women with breast cancer," said Dr. Ann M. Geiger, the lead researcher in the study. Women who are diagnosed with cancer in one breast have a great risk of developing it in their normal breast as well. Hence most women opt to have a so-called prophylactic mastectomy. This is more often the case since they have been apprised of the risk of developing cancer or carry genes that make them susceptible to develop the cancer. Preventive mastectomy does lower the risk of the cancer spreading to the second breast as well. Geiger's team looked at the emotional effects of preventive mastectomy and found that most women were happy with their decision. They caution that long-term emotional fears must not hold women back from making an informed choice.