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Many double mastectomies are not clinically indicated, study finds

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 27 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3512
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Nearly seven in 10 women with breast cancer who have contralateral prophylactic mastectomy are not at significant risk of developing a new breast cancer in the contralateral breast, according to a new study.1

The study, published in JAMA Surgery, was led by Sarah T Hawley of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, US.

In recent years, the number of women choosing to have a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy as part of their initial treatment for breast cancer in the United States has risen steadily.

However, in most patients removal of the unaffected breast has not been shown to prolong survival, and the procedure is generally recommended only for women with a higher than average risk, such as those with genetic mutations of BRCA1 or BRCA2 or with at least two …

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