Multiple studies of breast cancer patients have identified a sharp increase in the number of younger patients electing to have both breasts removed even if cancer has only been found in one breast. The Midwest and East Coast have emerged as hot spots for the elective surgery that the the American Society of Breast Surgeons has published a statement against except for patients with additional risk factors. A breast surgeon from the NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York said that she had seen a rise of 17 percent in contralateral prophylactic mastectomy.
Another East Coast state has experienced a similar increase among cancer patients under 44. Between 2004 and 2006, 9.8 percent of younger women in one state chose to remove both breasts. Data collected between 2010 and 2012 showed that the portion of younger patients choosing this approach jumped to 32.2 percent. Women who decided to remove both breasts expressed a desire to avoid the possibility of a cancer recurrence. One younger patient under 40 said that her age meant that she had more years ahead of her when the cancer could come back. Surgeons, however, have expressed caution about the removal of healthy tissue. Women should get second opinions and examine their risks for cancer striking the second breast.
Any person contemplating surgery needs good information upon which to make an informed decision. These types of procedures the risk of surgical errors, and a person who chooses to undergo a surgery when the physician has presented insufficient information might be a victim of medical malpractice if the patient is harmed as a result. An attorney could assist a victim in seeking appropriate compensation for the losses that have been sustained.