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Medical News & Perspectives
May 24/31, 2016

More Women With Breast Cancer Opt for Bilateral Mastectomy Despite Lack of Survival Benefit

JAMA. 2016;315(20):2154-2156. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.3584

Three years ago, gynecologist Kate Killoran, MD, of Camden, Maine, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and her tumor size warranted a mastectomy. Because she tested negative for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations that greatly increase a women’s risk of developing breast cancer, she was surprised when her surgical oncologist and plastic surgeon suggested that she have a bilateral mastectomy. They presented it as a practical option rather than a therapeutic one.

“The reconstructed side stays up forever and the natural side sags over time… they suggested that was the reason I do it,” said Killoran, who blogs about her cancer and women’s health issues. “I thought about it, and I [decided], ‘I can’t cut off a normal breast.’”

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