Dr. Frank Vicini, a Michigan-based radiation oncologist working with The BC5 Project, shares his opinion on a recent Vanderbilt University study that found the double mastectomy rates have risen among women with early-stage breast cancer.
“The increasing rates of mastectomy are very disturbing in that they do not reflect any new evidence suggesting that mastectomy works better in curing breast cancer. In fact, the opposite has been noted. Some large studies of comparative analysis research have suggested breast conserving therapy may actually improve survival in some subsets of women. In addition, the largest increases in the rates of mastectomy appear to be seen in women with the earliest stages of disease – those groups where the increased rates clearly have not been shown to improve survival over breast conserving therapy. Considering the potential psychological trauma that can be seen with mastectomy, even when combined with reconstruction, these disturbing trends need to be explored, explained and reversed. There are no data to suggest whatsoever that mastectomy improves survival over breast conservation in appropriately selected women. It took decades of extraordinary research and millions of research dollars to conclusively establish that women have equal choices for treatment and that they do not need to risk their lives by saving their breasts.”
Frank A. Vicini, MD, FACR, is the Chief Academic Officer for Michigan Healthcare Professionals and 21st Century Oncology in Royal Oak, Mich., as well as Professor of Radiation Oncology for the Oakland University-William Beaumont School of Medicine in Rochester, Mich.