More Men Seeking Preventive Mastectomy

When mastectomy is mentioned, the picture that comes to mind is the removal of the breast affected by a cancerous tumor or growth. With the rise of breast cancer, people are going the extra mile to ensure they minimize the occurrence, suffering, and high cost of treatment. This involves living a healthier lifestyle and seeking early treatment. However, what seems to be the latest trend in regard to taking preventive measures is the removal of the unaffected breasts in a procedure known as contralateral prophylactic mastectomy. This is being witnessed amongst men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Although breast cancer is usually associated with women, it also affects men though on a smaller scale. The cases of the scourge have been rising quite fast and this has inspired men to take the necessary precautions. This is becoming more achievable thanks to cancer awareness campaigns and better health insurance plans. Reports from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society indicate that the number of younger men going for this procedure is rising quite fast.

breas cancer menThe Journal of the American Medical Association's JAMA reports that in 2004, only 3% of men who were diagnosed with breast cancer choose to have their breasts removed. By the end of 2011, the number of men who underwent contralateral prophylactic mastectomy increased to 5.6%. This is being witnessed despite statistics indicating the removal of the unaffected breast in women doesn’t have any positive impact when it comes to living longer. So, why are men having mastectomy despite these findings?

One reason that is driving men diagnosed with cancer to have both breasts removed is lack of sufficient knowledge. More focus has always been placed on women in regard to breast cancer. In fact, many men simply brush off the idea of going for breast cancer screening. Extra attention is being given to cancers such as prostrate and colon, which mainly attack men. Many people simply do it because they know prevention is better than cure. However, there is no real benefit.

Rather than trying to understand what ER-positive, PR-positive, BRCA-2, HER2, estrogen and other jargon mean, why not simply get rid of the likely target for cancer. This is worrying many experts since the cost of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy isn’t low. After chemotherapy many men will also seek mastectomy even without the doctor’s advice.

Ahmedin Jemal from American Cancer Society argues that too much emphasis is been given to the mastectomy instead of focusing on providing quality cancer care that adds value. People end up spending too much money on something that won’t improve their lives. They should instead use the resources on real issues.