New JAMA Published Research: Too Many Patients Remove Healthy Breast When No Medical Reason To Do So

New research reveals that for women with early-stage breast cancer, misunderestanding the value of surgery lead too many patients to remove a healthy breast when there is no medical reason to do so.

Patients were more likely to make this decision when their surgeons failed to make clear that the procedure would not reduce the risk that their cancer would come back, or prolong their life, in this report from the Los Angeles Times.

A video report is also included at this link.

“When patients participate more in their breast cancer surgical decisions, they more often receive aggressive treatment,” researchers wrote in a study published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery. “Ironically, a physician’s desire to support patient autonomy may result in excessive surgery if patients are misinformed, as our results suggest is common.”

The surgery in question is called contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, or CPM. This is when doctors find cancer in one breast and then remove not just the affected breast but the other one too.

It sounds like a logical way to reduce the risk of breast cancer, but in most cases, it isn’t.

Learn more about this research in JAMA, and in the Los Angeles Times.

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