Mastectomies More Common Today, But Why?

First Posted: Feb 23, 2016 12:28 PM EST

The number of women undergoing mastectomies in the United States has increased 36 percent between 2005 and 2013, despite that the overall rate of breast cancer has remained stable, according to a new report.

Data released from the Agency for the Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) also found that both single and double mastectomies are increasingly being performed as outpatient procedures, according to Fox News.

The data "highlights changing patterns of care for breast cancer and the need for further evidence about the effects of choices women are making on their health, well-being and safety," Rick Kronick, AHRQ director, said via Medical Xpress"More women are opting for mastectomies, particularly preventive double mastectomies, and more of those surgeries are being done as outpatient procedures."

The report looks at data coming from 13 states that's based on more than 25 percent of the United States' population. AHRQ is also part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The rate of women without breast cancer who underwent preventive double mastectomies also more than doubled, the report found. Furthermore, health officials note that the vast majority of breast cancers typically occur only in one breast. However, a decision to remove both breasts-a double mastectomy rather than a single mastectomy if only one breast has cancer-may be influenced by numerous factors, including a family history of breast cancer, mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene, physician advice or fear that cancer could spread to both breasts. 

According to the American Cancer Society, estimates for 2016 suggest that there will be close to 250,000 cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women in the United States alone, with about 60,000 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) diagnosed (a non-invasive and earliest form of the disease). They also estimate that 40,000 women will die from breast cancer in 2016. 

While there are genetic risks for breast cancer, some studies also suggest that diet may play a part as well.

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