Ever since Angelina Jolie decided to undergo a bold double mastectomy back in 2013, many women at risk of developing risk or ovarian cancer have been more confident to take this kind of action.
Now, as it turns out, the number of mastectomies in women is growing at an exponential rate. This phenomenon, however, started way before the actress decided to take this step.
According to a report issued by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the rate of women who choose to undergo mastectomies within the United States rose by 36% between 2005-2013, while the occurrence of breast cancer has remained constant.
Dr. Rick Kronick, director of AHRQ, says that their data reveals a change in the method of treatment for breast cancer and it reflects a need for further evidence when it comes to the impact of women’s choices on their general well-being.
There seems to be an increased desire for prevention, with more and more women willing to undergo mastectomy procedures, with many of them being outpatient surgeries.
The most significant increase over the years has been in double mastectomies though, with the numbers soaring from 9 out of 100,000 women patients to 30 out of 100,000 women patients.
In 2013 these types of procedures accounted for 33% of all mastectomies.
What is perhaps surprising is to see an increase in the number of women that don’t currently have cancer, but still choose to undergo this procedure. While these numbers are relatively low, they still represent a shift in mentality from “I will deal with it if it happens” to “Better safe than sorry.”
The treatment options available for women with breast cancer are single mastectomies, double mastectomies and breast-conserving lumpectomies.
Women who present mutations in the BRCA 1 or BRCA2 gene or are related to other family members with breast cancer can choose to have a double mastectomy upon consulting with a physician.
The report also highlighted the fact that in 2013 many young women decided to have a double mastectomy. As it turns out, they were generally about 10 years younger than the ones who had single mastectomies.
This analysis was conducted using data from 13 hospitals, based on hospital discharge papers. For more detailed information, you can read the entire report in “Trends in Bilateral and Unilateral Mastectomies in Hospital Inpatient and Ambulatory Settings, 2005-2013.”
Image Source: Cancer.gov