A new study shows that the number of men who choose to have both of their breasts removed as a cancer treatment is on the rise.
You may find it shocking, but breast cancer doesn’t just affect women. A new study has shown that more males with breast cancer are opting to have both breasts removed, even if one remains healthy. According to a report from Live Science, the number of contralateral prophylactic mastectomies performed on men has nearly doubled between 2004 and 2011.
In a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, doctors remove a healthy breast after the other has been diagnosed with cancer. This procedure isn’t always necessary, is only carried out on a small group of patients.
According to Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, the vice president of surveillance and health services research at the American Cancer Society, the operation is not recommended for most patients. He also says that there is little evidence supporting the claim that these mastectomies help patients live longer.
Researchers looked at data from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, following 6,332 men who had cancer in one breast and had surgery between 2004 and 2011.
Throughout the study, 1,254 men received breast-conserving surgery, 4,800 underwent a single-breast mastectomy and only 278 had contralateral prophylactic mastectomies. The men who chose to have both breasts removed were younger on average, and fewer people had the operation as age increased.
Breast cancer is much less common in men than it is in women. Researchers predict that 2,350 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. this year, the majority suffering from cases of ductal carcinoma, which starts in the milk duct.
Surgery is the most effective method of treating serious cases of breast cancer, and as information about the disease becomes more available, the observed rise in procedures appears to be the result of increased awareness.