According to a new study, most women who have a breast removed to prevent a second bout of cancer don't regret their decision.
519 women who'd had cancer in one breast but decided to have both breasts removed in order to avoid a recurrence were surveyed. Overall, researchers found, 87 percent said they were still satisfied with their decision, as long as 23 years after the fact.
The study was led by Dr. Ann M. Geiger of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Preventive mastectomy has been found to substantially lower the risk of cancer recurrence, though it won't eliminate the risk, as some breast tissue remains after surgery.
The team found that roughly three-quarters of women in both groups said they were "very" or "quite" content with their quality of life, and the large majority of those who'd had a preventive mastectomy felt good about their choice.
"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.