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'Preventive' double mastectomies revealed as medical hoax: most women who get them don't need them

Double mastectomies

(NaturalNews) The mainstream media's glamorization of breast cancer, including an announcement last year by actress Angelina Jolie promoting so-called "preventive" double mastectomies, has caused many women to chop off their healthy breasts in vain. A new research paper out of the University of Michigan (UM) has found that most breast cancer patients who opt for preventive double mastectomies don't actually need them and are needlessly mutilating their bodies as a product of fear.

Researchers from UM's Comprehensive Cancer Center made this discovery after surveying 1,447 women who had previously been treated for breast cancer without recurrence of the disease. Roughly 75 percent of the women had expressed fear that their breast cancer would come back someday, prompting about 8 percent of them to undergo a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, which involves removing the healthy breast along with the one that had the cancer.

But according to researchers, only 3 percent of breast cancer patients, at most, will ever develop breast cancer in their healthy breasts. And yet many women have been hoodwinked into thinking that their chances are far higher than this and that they need the procedure to minimize their risk. Most don't, explains the paper, and breast cancer patients would do better to just leave their healthy body parts alone.

"They want to choose the surgical procedure that they think gives them the lowest possibility of recurrence and the greatest chance of surviving their breast cancer," stated Dr. Tari King, deputy chief and director of research for the breast surgical advice service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, to CBS News. "But... when we tell them that removing their normal breast won't make them live longer and there is no survival benefit, there's a disconnect."

Even women with 'defective' BRCA genes don't need preventive double mastectomies

But what about those women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes that the media has declared to be defective? These women don't need the procedure either, suggests the paper, as breast cancer cases involving these particular gene mutations only account for 10 percent or less of all diagnosed breast cancers.

Based on these statistics, it would seem as though very few women would ever agree to have their healthy breasts surgically removed in the name of disease prevention. And yet statistics show that contralateral prophylactic mastectomy procedures are on the rise, having jumped in popularity from 39 out of every 1,000 mastectomies in 1998 to 207 out of every 1,000 mastectomies in 2008, according to a study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

For many women, it is just the idea of safety that prompts them to undergo mastectomies for healthy breasts, not science. According to Dr. King, more women need to know the actual risks involved and carefully consider whether or not to undergo the procedure. Besides failing to protect most women against cancer, mastectomies can cause other problems such as post-surgical chronic pain, loss of sensation in the breast and skin, and sexual dysfunction.

"Oftentimes women say they still worry about breast cancer even if they've chosen to remove both breasts," explained Dr. King to CBS News. "It's not always guaranteed that the choice you make to remove both breasts is really going to make you feel as good as you think it might at the time that you're making that decision."

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