Surgery is often the first choice as a breast cancer treatment. There are two main types of surgery in this case, a lumpectomy and a mastectomy. Sometimes the nature of the cancer determines which type of surgery is appropriate, but in other instances the decision is up to the patient. Several considerations must be made, including the radiation that often accompanies a lumpectomy or body image after a mastectomy.
A new study published this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology online reports that the number of women opting for double mastectomies (when a single mastectomy was indicated) more than doubled between 1998 and 2003, from 4.2% to 11%. In addition, the number of women having double mastectomies when a lumpectomy was the indicated treatment rose…