According to a new study published in the journal Annals of Surgical Oncology, most women who chose to undergo double mastectomies despite having cancer in only one breast are content with their choice and would likely make the same choice again.
In the study, researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, surveyed 621 women with a family history of breast cancer, diagnosed with cancer in one breast, and elected to undergo a double mastectomy. Approximately 10 and 20 years after undergoing their double mastectomies, researchers asked the women about their quality of life and whether they were satisfied with their decision to have both breasts removed.
After 10 years, 83% of the 583 women that responded were satisfied with their decision and 84% would make the same decision twice. Overall, most women who had breast reconstruction were satisfied with their decisions, but women who had complications associated with breast reconstruction were more likely to regret their choice for prophylactic mastectomy.
The likelihood of developing cancer in the other breast is not that high, and oftentimes, patients' anxiety influences their choice to undergo a double mastectomy. Increased anxiety about the risk for developing cancer in the other breast may decrease quality of life.
More women with cancer in one breast are opting to have both breasts removed to reduce their risk of future cancer. New research shows that in the long term, most have no regrets. Mayo Clinic surveyed hundreds of women with breast cancer who had double mastectomies between 1960 and 1993 and found that nearly all would make the same choice again.
The findings are published in the journal Annals of Surgical Oncology. The study made a surprising finding: While most women were satisfied with their decision whether they followed it with breast reconstruction or not, patients who decided against reconstructive surgery were likelier to say they would choose to have both breasts removed again.