Experts: Removing breast might not cut risk

September 28, 2009 2:50:40 PM PDT
A small but growing number of women with breast cancer are choosing to have the unaffected breast removed. It's in an effort to prevent a recurrence. This is raising some concerns because, experts say, there is no evidence that removing the unaffected breast improves long-term survival.

Researchers say, among women who are not at high genetic risk of breast cancer, about 95 percent of all patients, the odds of developing cancer in the second breast are between 10 and 20 percent over 20 to 30 years. Experts say the large majority of those cancers are detected early and effectively treated.

Scientists reporting in the journal Cancer say women need to be carefully counseled on the issues of the risks of developing a second cancer and the largely minimal or no impact a preventive mastectomy may have on their survival.


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