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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Daily Dose

Why mastectomies are on the rise

Mastectomies are back in vogue: Blame it on celebrities such as E! talk show host Giuliana Rancic and comedian Wanda Sykes, who appeared to bounce back easily after their recent double mastectomies and reconstruction for early-stage breast cancer in one breast. Or blame it on the overwhelming need to have some peace of mind after receiving a frightening breast cancer diagnosis.

Regardless of the reason, surgeons have seen a surge in requests from breast cancer patients who opt to have both breasts removed (including the one that’s cancer-free) rather than removing just the malignant lump in one. That’s despite findings from seven large clinical trials, which showed that, for tumors that hadn’t spread beyond the breast, mastectomies didn’t provide additional benefits over more conservative surgery — called a lumpectomy — followed by radiation.

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