More women opt for mastectomies

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A growing number of women with early-stage breast cancer seem to be choosing to have the whole breast removed instead of just the cancerous lump, a Mayo Clinic study of about 5,500 women found.

Mastectomies were standard treatment until 1990, when studies showed that women whose cancers were small and confined to the breast did just as well if they had less radical surgery followed by radiation.

Researchers are not sure what is responsible for the new trend, but speculate that newer tests like MRI scans are finding more cancers, or flagging so many suspicious spots that women want the breast removed for peace of mind.

The findings are to be reported next month at a meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology.

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