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Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2011 Jul;20(4):508-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2354.2010.01204.x. Epub 2010 Jun 29.

High satisfaction rate ten years after bilateral prophylactic mastectomy - a longitudinal study.

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Division of Psychology, Department of Social Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Campus Östersund, Östersund, Sweden, and Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian university of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway


Women from families with an increased risk for breast/ovarian cancer have undergone bilateral prophylactic mastectomy (BPM) since the early 1990s at the Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden. Perceptions of BPM as reported by the first women who underwent the procedure have previously been evaluated on a short-term basis (1-3 years). The present study aims to evaluate the long-term (10 years) physical and psychological consequences of BPM in the same cohort of women. Some of the very first women to undergo BPM participated in the present interview study (n= 13). The semi-structured interviews focused on the women's long-term experiences related to BPM and immediate breast reconstruction. Overall, the women were satisfied with their decision to undergo BPM and perceived a negligible remaining risk of getting breast cancer. For most women, the operation had not resulted in changes in family life or lifestyle (n= 8), although some described that the relationship with their spouse was affected (8/13), either in a negative (n= 5) or positive (n= 3) way. The cosmetic results were mainly positive (n= 10). Recurrent counselling and support during the whole process of decision, treatment and follow up is recommended.

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