More breast cancer patients are choosing reconstructive breast surgery, although where women live might influence whether they opt for it, new research shows. "These data suggest that while a hearteningly increasing proportion of women are receiving breast reconstruction, it's not uniformly the case all across the country," said study author Dr. Reshma Jagsi, associate chairwoman of the department of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan.
According to the study, which was published online Feb. 18 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, there was an almost 20 percent jump in reconstructive breast surgeries between 1998 and 2007 among women who'd had a breast removed due to breast cancer. Meanwhile, the number of double mastectomies increased from 3 percent to 18 percent in the same period. Three-quarters of women who got double mastectomies also got breast reconstruction, the study found.
There was "tremendous" variation in rates of reconstructive surgery across the United States, Jagsi said, and that variability reflects the density of plastic surgeons who perform reconstructive breast procedures in those parts of the country. For example, only 18 percent of breast cancer patients opted for reconstructive surgery in North Dakota, compared to 80 percent of women in Washington, D.C. (Health Day)