In a recent, very noticeable trend, more and more women throughout the United States have been getting mastectomies, although no rises have been noticed in the rates of breast cancer. The number of US women undergoing mastectomies skyrocketed, as apparently preventive surgery is a more pleasant alternative to periodic mammograms.
The rise of the mastectomy
From 2005 to 2013, according to data from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the rates at which mastectomies have increased are stunning – 36% more women are getting the surgery, despite not all of them needing it. Double mastectomies had an even higher increase.
For the more mathematically inclined, the number of women getting mastectomies has raised from 66 to 90 out of 100,000 women, while double mastectomies have risen from 9 to 30 out of 100,000. 2013 even saw double mastectomies to account for a third of all mastectomy surgeries.
Women getting double mastectomies have also been getting them at a younger and younger age, even younger than those getting single mastectomies. The age difference is a whopping entire decade, with the double mastectomy patients having an average age of 51, while single mastectomy patients had an average age of 61.
Additionally, even more surprisingly, the number of women without breast cancer getting the surgical procedure has doubled. Further revealed by the study is that both types of surgeries are performed as an outpatient procedure, with as much as 45% of all mastectomies being performed without the patient spending the night.
The possible reasons
Of course, experts have been all over the trend, attempting to figure out answers as to why this is happening. Most answers revolve around preventative issues, but also around the improved medical capabilities in recent years and also around convenience.
First of all, like Angelina Jolie did in 2013, some women undergo double mastectomies when they find out they carry the BRCA1 gene that raises the risk for developing breast cancer. Instead of risking developing cancer at some point in their lives, more and more women prefer getting it over with as fast as possible.
This leads us to the second reason – increasingly better medical care, as well as plastic surgery procedures, sometimes make mastectomy a more appealing option. After preventively removing the odds of developing breast cancer, an increasingly large number of women continue by getting reconstructive surgery, hitting two birds with one stone.
The third and final reason, as analyzed by the doctors behind the study, is that some women dread the periodic mammograms and check-ups with so much dread, that they prefer removing the source of their scheduled discomfort once and for all. Of course, reconstructive surgery also plays an important role in this case as well.
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