Bilateral Mastectomy: Be Not Afraid

Bilateral Mastectomy: Be Not Afraid

There’s a difference between fear and caution. As radiologists we practice caution and do our best to alleviate fears.  


For women who have had cancer in one breast, there is a fear that it can occur in the other. According to the latest study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it’s important to not let fear be the root of an unnecessary surgery. How, you ask? Good question…  


Treatments for breast cancer can vary. Each woman (or man) has an individualized breast cancer treatment plan based on their cancer(s), size, location and spread. Very serious conversations with your doctors can help determine what’s best for you. The goal is life-saving treatment! But preventative surgeries require even careful conversation.  


Here’s the key take-away from the study (which you can read about here in lay(wo)men’s terms or here in science-speak):  

“Use of bilateral mastectomy was not associated with lower mortality than that achieved with breast-conserving surgery plus radiation.”  


So while we can’t write one post to address the needs of every individual woman who reads this, what we can tell you is that it’s important to remember that you, dear reader, are an individual who deserve the best possible care. And talking to your doctor while fully informed is key to get to your best possible health.





Image credit: Bse after mastectomy (series of 6) illustration (1) by NIC via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public Domain

Originally published 9/25/14 on