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Many women choosing double mastectomies

  |   April 10, 2009 at 4:48 PM
MINNEAPOLIS, April 10 (UPI) -- The number of women diagnosed with the earliest stage of breast cancer choosing to have both breasts removed has risen dramatically, U.S. researchers said.

Study leader Dr. Todd Tuttle of the University of Minnesota Medical School said the rate of the opposite prophylactic mastectomy surgery among U.S. women with ductal carcinoma in situ -- the earliest stage of breast cancer -- increased by 188 percent from 1998 to 2005.

With ductal carcinoma in situ is the earliest stage of breast cancer when the cancer is small and confined within a duct area of the breast. At this stage, the disease is considered highly treatable with breast-conserving surgery and radiation or hormone therapy, Tuttle said.

"The 10-year survival rate for women with ductal carcinoma in situ is 98 percent to 99 percent," Tuttle said in a statement. "Therefore, removal of the normal noncaneous breast will not improve the excellent survival rates for this group of women. Nevertheless, many women, particularly young women, are choosing to have both breasts removed."

Tuttle and colleagues used the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database to evaluate information on 51,030 women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ in one breast from 1988 to 2005.

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