News on Wellness

Needless mastectomies – A cause of concern


The fear of breast cancer and its implications is driving many women to undergo mastectomies out of fear and over estimation of the lump sizes in breasts.

The result is that there are many mastectomies being done that may or could have been avoided. A simple lumpectomy would have sufficed and women could have saved their breasts from going under the surgeon’s scalpel.
A study has revealed that the lump sizes in more than 60% of the mastectomy cases is below 20mm and certainly not serious enough to warrant a mastectomy. It says that the cancer teams need to be more careful and not create panic among women.

Over 4,600 women are diagnosed every year with DCIS. This is a condition where the cells within the milk ducts of breasts become cancerous. The fact is these cells yet has not spread into surrounding tissue areas and women have the option of just removing the DCIS area. The process is lumpectomy and is a method of breast conservation. They then need to undergo radiotherapy to root out traces of cancer causing cells.

More than a 100 mastectomies are performed every year on women who overreact to these lumps and based on the diagnosis by radiologists, who play safe by advocating mastectomy. There are also variations in assessments by oncologists, radiologists between hospitals and this suggests that teams are not looking into much detail. It is these variations that are leading to such an increase in mastectomies each year.

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