Life Lessons: Lumpectomy vs. mastectomy
It's a decision more than 232,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer will have to make in this country this year: whether to have a lumpectomy or mastectomy.
"I have girlfriends that have gone through this unfortunately. Some chose a lumpectomy. Some chose a mastectomy," Jennifer Kajcienski, a breast cancer survivor says.
But Dr. Shelly Hwang says more and more women are opting for mastectomies.
"There's this trend toward women just doing more. So if they have a choice between lumpectomy and mastectomy, they'll choose to have a mastectomy," Dr. Hwang explains.
The latest numbers show 70 percent of those women don't have a proven medical reason.
That's where Dr. Hwang hopes a new study she led at Duke University could help.
The team analyzed more than 112,00 women with early-stage breast cancer, about half of whom had a lumpectomy with radiation and the other half underwent a mastectomy.
"You would think the more surgery you did, the more aggressive you were, the better patients would do from their breast cancer. But we found that that wasn't actually true," Dr. Hwang said.
Those who received less-invasive treatment in all age groups had improved survival rates.
"For the majority of women who have the choice, they don't need to feel like they are being pressured to do the more aggressive surgery to get a better outcome," Dr. Hwang said.
After three rounds of chemo, Kajcienski's lump disappeared without surgery. But she says if it came down to it, she'd do whatever it takes to make sure she survives breast cancer.
"I mean, we can live without parts of our body. Our kids and our families need us," she said.
While a lumpectomy may prove to be more advantageous to most with early-stage breast cancer, the authors of the study say a double mastectomy could make more sense for a woman with a strong family history of cancer or for those who've tested positive for genetic mutations, as was the case for Angelina Jolie.
Copyright 2013 WFMZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
State Police: We have taken Eric Frein into custody
Teacher's aide charged in alleged driving rampage near school
Texas man charged in shooting death of Lower Macungie man
Fire destroys pizza shop on Main Street in Nazareth
Prosecutors will seek death penalty against Frein
Humane Society puts out urgent plea for donations
Nurse refuses Ebola quarantine
Police warn dollar stores of armed robbery threat
Montgomery County monitors 1st travelers from West Africa
Blood-covered suspect arrested in shooting of man in Reading