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July 2018

Future Directions for Breast Reconstruction on the 20th Anniversary of the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Plastic Surgery, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas
  • 2Division of Health Services Management and Policy, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, The Ohio State University, Columbus
JAMA Surg. 2018;153(7):605-606. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2018.0397

Shortly after the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act passed in 1998, evidence arose about variable rates of breast reconstruction in the United States. That evidence showed that whether or not a woman had breast reconstruction depended a great deal on where she lived, what kind of health insurance she had, how much money she made, and her race/ethnicity.1 Twenty years later, practice variations in breast reconstruction persist. Surgeons, patients, and policymakers have responded with various initiatives to increase the use of reconstruction, such as awareness campaigns and laws that require surgeons to discuss the procedure. Although these efforts are reasonable, the issue of who should have breast reconstruction is not so simple. Rather, the effectiveness of breast reconstruction has not been fully established, and evidence of its overuse exists.

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