Breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops into the breast cells. This type of cancer can be caused by different factors such age, genes, Obesity, exposure to radiation and unhealthy lifestyle. According to statistics, breast cancer is accountable for 16% of all female cancers, 22.9% of invasive cancer in women and 18.3% of all cancer deaths for both men and women around the world.
After being diagnosed with cancer in one breast, within five years, there’s a possibility that cancer could spread to the other breast. Although it is considered as a slim possibility, patients opt to undergo a CPM or contralateral prophylactic mastectomy as a preventive measure. However, could CPM improve a patient’s chances of survival? Experts say otherwise.
According to a new study conducted by researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the numbers of patients undergoing the surgery has significantly increased over the years and majority of the patients are young women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Although most of the patients are aware that it’s not a guaranteed measure to reduce their risk of developing cancer on the other breast, the researchers still can’t answer why these women choose to go ahead with the procedure.
To shed light on the complicated matter, Shoshana Rosenberg ScD, MPH, of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, conducted a survey among 123 women under the age of 40 who were diagnosed with breast cancer and had both of their breast removed.
The Questionnaires used during the survey includes queries on why they had the surgery, although unnecessary. Moreover, they were also asked if they are aware of the risk as well as the benefits of the procedure, and if they are happy with the outcome of their decision.
The result of the study shows that majority of the participant had the procedure to prevent the cancer from spreading and to increase their chances of survival, which indicates that their fear of losing with their battle against breast cancer might have pushed them to undergo the surgery. Shoshana Rosenberg also added that it could be because of the lack of understanding on the risk and benefits of the procedure.
Apparently, most of the participants are aware of the benefits but not of the risk of the procedure. And this explains many of the women stated that they were unhappy with the outcome of the surgery. According to the results, 42% of the participants claimed that they had issues with their sense of sexuality after the surgery, which they did not expect
To address the issue, Roesnberg suggested that “Improving the communication of those risks and benefits – together with better management of anxiety surrounding diagnosis – and providing patients with the support they need to make decisions based on solid evidence – are worthwhile steps.”
She also added that is very important for doctors to highlight the risk and benefits of the procedure in order for patients to understand what they are signing up for. She added, “we need to be sure that women are making informed decisions, supported decisions, based on an accurate understanding of the pros and cons of the procedure, and in a setting where anxiety and concerns can be addressed.”