Health

Most Women Who Get Double Mastectomy Don’t Need It, Study Finds

Angelina Jolie had a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a gene that made it likely she would get breast cancer. (Evan Agostini/AP)
Angelina Jolie had a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a gene that made it likely she would get breast cancer. (Evan Agostini/AP)

 

(NBC News) – Most women who get both breasts removed to prevent breast cancer don’t need to do it, and are often motivated by fear, researchers reported Wednesday.

They found that 70 percent of women who had a healthy breast removed after getting cancer diagnosed in the other one had a very low risk of getting a tumor in that healthy breast.

And it’s not a matter of ignorance, says Sarah Hawley of the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, who led the study. “I think a lot of patients will say they did feel informed but that this was their choice,” Hawley told NBC News.

“It’s hard to live with fear or worry.”

Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say.

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