Medical News & Perspectives
October 16, 2013

Women With Breast Cancer Who Opt for Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy May Overestimate Future Risk

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JAMA. 2013;310(15):1548. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.280836

Younger women diagnosed with breast cancer in a single breast who chose to undergo prophylactic mastectomy of the other breast had skewed perceptions about both the risk of developing contralateral breast cancer and the benefits associated with contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM), according to a new study (Rosenberg S et al. Ann Intern Med. 2013;159[6]:373-381).

Over the last 2 decades, the number of women with unilateral breast cancer choosing to undergo CPM has been increasing. Traditionally, prophylactic surgery has been performed mostly in women with mutations in the BRCA genes, which are known to significantly increase overall lifetime risk of breast and ovarian cancer. In recent years, however, more young women with unilateral breast cancer who lack such mutations have also been requesting CPM.

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