The majority of my anger, however, is aimed at what I call a culture of fear. Thanks to the breast cancer awareness movement we are aware; very aware. If you are a woman, you have breasts and you’ve thought about breast cancer. (Admit it). But the media only presents sound bites, and as a result a woman hears the word “cancer” and immediately thinks “mastectomy.” In fact, there is a concern among the medical community that women are having unnecessary mastectomies. According to the Mayo Clinic ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) “is considered a precancerous lesion,” which means it is a risk factor. It is not yet breast cancer but could become breast cancer if it goes untreated. (Similar to colon polyps; if they are not removed they will turn into colon cancer). However, women who are diagnosed with DCIS are having mastectomies.
Additionally, recent studies indicate that lumpectomies and partial
mastectomies might actually be healthier for an early stage breast cancer
diagnosis. So why are doctors continuing to let women have a mastectomy when it
is not warranted? The answer: to help the patient feel better. How about better
“awareness” and information? How about accurate reporting by the media?
As for preventative mastectomies, I don’t know. My reaction is quite negative. After all, would you cut off your finger if you got a hang nail because it might get infected? I feel as if the message is the same. You are a woman. You have breasts. Therefore you might get breast cancer. So, you should have a double mastectomy to ward of the possibility of something that is statistically unlikely.