By Vera Viner
Right now, women around the country are being taught to fear breast cancer and to go to extremes in order to cure the disease. This is being transformed through a higher rate of double and prophylactic mastectomies. In the early 1990s, doctors encouraged women to partake in lumpectomies when their cancer was in the early stages and many took the advice, with the rates of mastectomies decreasing. In today’s world, things have changed.
Forbes reported that over the last decade an rise in mastectomies has led to, what some call, an epidemic of breast removal. This may be due to a higher focus on the genetics and family history of breast cancer as well as more trust in reconstructive surgery. However, research has shown that women with stage 1 or stage 2 cancer who remove both breasts do not significantly change their life expectancy when compared to women who choose a lumpectomy. The survival benefit is actually less than 1 percent.
The reasons why some women still choose mastectomies may rely heavily on the fear they feel when they are diagnosed with breast cancer. This is completely understandable. However, the news source explains that many women are actually disappointed by the results after a breast reconstruction. Nonetheless, some women are also concerned with the time and resources required for monitoring the other breast after they are declared cancer-free.
When making the decision of keeping one’s breasts or choosing a double mastectomy, women will need to consider all of their options – their current needs and what they wish for the future. One’s quality of life after cancer surgery needs to be addressed. Will living with reconstructed breasts be satisfactory? Or will cancer screening more often put your mind at ease? Will you worry about developing cancer in the other breast? Will the financial costs of future treatments cause you emotional stress? All of these factors need to be considered when choosing a mastectomy or a lumpectomy.
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