Breast cancer has become increasingly common in today’s society. And many women are now electing to have mastectomies or partial breast removal. Surgeons suggest that many of their patients have breast reconstruction surgery afterwards, but is this extra cost necessary and/or safe?
A couple of decades ago the majority of women undergoing mastectomies did not elect to have the extra procedure of breast reconstruction surgery. But somehow today, many women feel that it is necessary.
CBS news offers statistics, “In 1998, the researchers found as many as 46 percent of women who had a mastectomy underwent reconstruction surgery. By 2007, 63 percent of women undergoing mastectomies were opting for the additional procedure. A total of 20,506 women underwent a mastectomy to treat their breast cancer between 1998 and 2007. The study showed that as many as 80 percent of women in Washington D.C. were getting breast reconstruction after their mastectomies, while just 18 percent of women in North Dakota were doing the procedure. The number was linked to the number of plastic surgeons in the state.”
Many surgeons emphasize the benefits of the surgery to their patients; after all they are in the surgery business. One physician told CBS, “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.”
The American cancer society issued a statement about the seriousness of breast cancer. They stated, “Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. About one out of eight women will develop an invasive form of the disease during their lifetime. In 2014, 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed. Around 40,000 women will die this year from the disease.”