Sunday, December 3, 2023

Study finds lower sexual and psychosocial well being among young women who opt for mastectomies

As more young women with breast cancer opt to have mastectomies, many experience a persistent decline in their sexual and psychosocial well being following the procedure, as detailed in new research by Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center. The findings, reported in JAMA Surgery, highlight the importance of doctors and patients discussing the potential long-term physical and emotional consequences of the procedure, researchers say. In a multicenter prospective cohort of young women diagnosed with breast cancer, moderate to large quality of life differences were apparent several years after breast cancer surgery, with women who underwent more extensive surgery reporting lower quality of life. The findings in the study are especially noteworthy given the recent trends towards younger women with breast cancer opting for bilateral mastectomies for unilateral breast cancer when breast conserving surgery was also an option. “Historically, it was felt that 75 percent of breast cancer patients should be eligible for breast-conserving surgery. Over time, however, more women, particularly young women, are electing to have a mastectomy,” says the lead author of the study, Laura Dominici, MD, a surgeon at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center. “They frequently offer peace of mind as the reason for their decision – even though research shows that unless a woman has a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, she has a very low risk of developing cancer in the healthy breast.”

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