Rise in women going for reconstruction after mastectomy, says study

Majority of women who undergo mastectomy for breast cancer are preferring breast reconstruction and this practice has increased dramatically over the time, a new study has found.

According to the researchers, while 46 percent of patients gone for breast cancer reconstruction in 1998, the figure saw a tremendous rise in 2007, which increased to 63 percent.

Study author Reshma Jagsi said, “Breast reconstruction has a big impact on quality of life for breast cancer survivors. As we are seeing more women survive breast cancer, we need to focus on long term survivorship issues and ensuring that women have access to this important part of treatment.”

Jagsi is associate professor of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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The researchers from academic medical centers and private practice studied the insurance claims data from a large nationwide employment-based database of medical claims. They found that a total of 20,506 women had gone for mastectomy for breast cancer between 1998 and 2007.

Experts found radiation therapy a big concern as it is increasingly being used after mastectomy by the women. They are using this to further reduce the risk of the cancer returning with more aggressive or advanced disease.

Jagsi says, “As a growing number of women are eligible for radiation after mastectomy, we have to be aware that this alters those patients’ reconstruction options and outcomes. Patients’ and physicians’ concerns about how best to integrate reconstruction and radiation may be influencing patient decisions. We need to determine the best approach to reconstruction for women who receive radiation.”

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.