Double Mastectomies Don't Yield Expected Results, Study Finds

“More women are choosing to have bilateral mastectomies when they are diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, even though there’s little evidence that removing both breasts improves their survival compared with more conservative treatments.

“The biggest study yet on the question has found no survival benefit with bilateral mastectomy compared with breast-conserving surgery with radiation.

“The study, published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, looked at the records of all women in California who were diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer from 1998 to 2011 — 189,734 women, all told.

“Women who had breast-conserving surgery had an 83.2 percent survival rate at 10 years, compared with 81.2 percent for those who had a double mastectomy. That meant that women who had breast-conserving surgery, also known as lumpectomy, did better and also avoided the risks of major surgery and loss of a healthy breast.

“The study also looked at women who had a single mastectomy, which was the least popular option. They fared worse, with a 79.9 percent survival rate, enough to be statistically significant.”