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Oncologist. 2011;16(7):935-41. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0022. Epub 2011 Jun 14.

Current knowledge on contralateral prophylactic mastectomy among women with sporadic breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77230-1439, USA.


The use of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) in the U.S. among patients with unilateral invasive breast cancer increased by 150% from 1993 to 2003. Although CPM has been shown to reduce the risk for developing contralateral breast cancer, there is conflicting evidence on whether or not it reduces breast cancer mortality or overall death. The increase in the CPM rate is especially concerning among women with early-stage sporadic breast cancer who have a minimal annual risk for developing contralateral breast cancer, and for many of these women the risk for distant metastatic disease outweighs the risk for contralateral breast cancer. The lack of information about the clinical value of CPM in women with sporadic breast cancer is an important public health problem. This review evaluates current data on the clinical indications for CPM and long-term patient satisfaction and psychosocial outcomes. Gaps in knowledge about the clinical value of CPM, including patient- and physician-related psychosocial factors that influence the decision-making process of CPM among women with sporadic breast cancer, are highlighted.

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