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Health Watch: Double Mastectomies May Not Result In Fewer Deaths

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Many women suffering from breast cancer choose to have a double mastectomy, a surgery that removes both breasts.

But a new study shows it may not be resulting in fewer deaths.

The study involved nearly 200,000 California patients who were followed for several years.

Ten year survival rates were nearly identical, at roughly 80 percent, for people who had the tumor removed plus radiation and double mastectomies.

Women who only had one breast removed fared slightly worse.

A Sacramento oncologist hopes the study will help patients and doctors look at the real science behind their choices.

"I think we have been doing the wrong thing. I mean, I think a lot of women do it because of emotional reasoning and not for scientific reasons. They don't do it because it will make them live any longer," Dr. Nitin Rohatgi said.

Most women choose lumpectomy plus radiation, but double mastectomies have increased substantially in recent years, especially among younger women.

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