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Unnecessary Mastectomies

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Unnecessary Mastectomies

Posted by Pam on April 24, 2002 at 13:00:04:

Dr. Stoll:

The article below comes from

Thank You,

Unnecessary Mastectomies

By Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D.

It is shocking but true: approximately one out of every two American women who have a breast removed as treatment for cancer do not need such radical surgery.

Whether a woman undergoes a mastectomy or a lumpectomy (which removes the cancer but not the breast) depends less on her specific diagnosis than on other factors, such as where she lives, her income and health insurance, where she receives medical care, her age, and when her doctor was trained.

Although it's been known for years that lumpectomy and other breast-saving surgeries are just as effective as mastectomy for patients in the early stages of breast cancer, in most parts of the country most of the women who receive an early-stage diagnosis will undergo the more radical and disfiguring surgery.

Limited information and biased recommendations are undermining breast cancer patients' choices.

Articles published in some of America's most prestigious journals show that many of the more than 182,000 women who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer every year do not have access to all the information they need to make the treatment choices that are best for them.

This raises questions about what doctors know and what they are telling their patients.

In addition, mastectomy is often followed by "reconstructive" breast surgery that involves the use of synthetic breast implants or tissue transfers from other parts of the body.

These reconstructive surgeries have risks, but the lack of published epidemiological studies means that many of the women making these decisions have limited information about their safety.

After all the research that has been done on the safety of lumpectomies, why are so many women undergoing mastectomies they don't need and then having reconstruction that can cause serious problems?

One reason may be economic.

In many facilities, it's actually cheaper to remove a breast than it is to perform a lumpectomy and provide the necessary follow-up radiation therapy...

[Excerpt from]

Re: Unnecessary Mastectomies (Archive in cancer.)

Posted by Walt Stoll on April 25, 2002 at 07:54:35:

In Reply to: Unnecessary Mastectomies posted by Pam on April 24, 2002 at 13:00:04:

Thanks, Pam.

In MY opinion, Dr Mercola is being too conservative in his reporting. I would say more like at least 75% have radical surgery unnecessarily.



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