Why Are Some Women Getting ‘Medically Unnecessary Surgery’?

Dr. Mehra Golshan performs a bilateral mastectomy (Courtesy Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center)

Dr. Mehra Golshan performs a bilateral mastectomy (Courtesy Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center)

More than 12 percent of American women face breast cancer at some point. When they do, they’re often given a choice: do you want just a lumpectomy, which removes just the area of the tumor, or do you want a mastectomy, which removes the full breast?

The most extensive option is the removal of both breasts, even though one is healthy. That’s often followed by surgery to reconstruct the breasts. More and more women are choosing this option — which is causing some concern among cancer specialists.


Carey Goldberg, editor of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog. She tweets at @commonhealth.


CommonHealth: ‘Medically Unnecessary, But A Choice:’ Tripling Of Women Who Have Healthy Breast Removed

  • “If you leave the breast on…do you think, really, that you will be seriously poisoned by chronic worry and stress over time?”

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