Breast cancer is one of the biggest killers and for the women who find themselves in a battle for their lives the only option is to undergo a mastectomy, the operation to surgically remove the female breast. While the cancer may be eliminated by this radical procedure the effects of the operation itself can be difficult for women to deal with.
To help them with this women will often have reconstructive surgery done but according to a new study by Dawn Hershman, M.D.; associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, that number may be a lot smaller than we think with a large number of women not having reconstructive surgery.
The study looked at 106,988 women with breast cancer who underwent mastectomy between 2000 and 2010. Of the women examined only 22.6 percent elected to have reconstructive surgery.
Although overall rates of reconstruction have increased since 2000, the greatest increases were seen among women with commercial insurance — from 25.3 percent to 54.6 percent — and among women aged younger than 50 years — from 29 percent to 60 percent. Among women aged 50 years or younger who also had commercial insurance, 67.5 percent underwent immediate breast reconstruction. Overall, women with commercial insurance had more than a threefold higher likelihood of undergoing immediate reconstruction compared with women without health insurance.
The researchers found that patients were more likely to have reconstructive surgery if they had a doctor who did more mastectomies or they were in a hospital where these types of surgeries were more common place.