A Double Mastectomy Does Not Boost Survival Rates

According to new research in California where 189,734 women were studied between 1988 and 2011, the lead scientist, Dr. Allison Kurian of Stanford University states, "We can now say that the average breast cancer patient who has bilateral mastectomy will have no better survival than the average patient who has lumpectomy plus radiation".  Ten years after having both breasts removed 18.8% of women died compared with 16.8% of those who had a lumpectomy and radiation. This paper was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The women in the study were diagnosed with breast cancer stages 0 - 3 in one breast. During that time 55% had surgery to remove malignant lumps then radiotherapy, almost 40% had one breast removed and the rest had a double mastectomy. Those who opted for that procedure were more likely to be white, aged under 40, better-off and have private medical insurance. The rate of women under 40 having the procedure soared from 3.6% in 1998 to 33% in 2011.

Having both breasts removed did not extend patients' lives any more than having cancerous lumps removed, followed by radiotherapy.