Research Suggests Nipple-Sparing Breast Cancer Surgery Comes With No Added Risk

Surgeons performing mastectomies can offer a form of the procedure – labeled nipple-sparing mastectomy – allowing women to retain the nipple for use in breast reconstruction.

Now, a reassuring study finds that nipple sparing mastectomy doesn’t raise a woman’s risk for breast cancer recurrence.

“More women are requesting nipple-sparing mastectomy because of the superior cosmetic results. But doctors don’t want to take any chances with breast cancer patients’ safety for the sake of cosmetic improvement,” explained lead researcher Dr. Barbara Smith. She’s a surgical oncologist and director of the breast program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

“Our study, which has one of the longest reported follow-ups after therapeutic nipple-sparing mastectomy in the United States, provides additional support that it’s safe to leave the nipple intact during mastectomy with only a few exceptions,” she said in a news release from the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. It published the findings online July 17.

To learn more, read the full media release of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and, in the video above, watch breast cancer expert Dr. Jay Harness discuss the safety of nipple-sparing breast cancer surgery, long before the recent study.

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