More women nowadays are going in for bilateral mastectomies despite one breast being non-cancerous. Dr. Todd Tuttle, chief of surgical oncology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Cancer Center, led a research to seek an answer for the reason behind this emerging trend. What he found was a mixture of various reasons, from misinformation to aesthetics. The result of this study has been published in the online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Study Highlights
a. Researchers studied the records of 150,000 patients from the U.S. Cancer Registry.
b. This database had information on double mastectomies conducted since 1998.
c. It was seen that in six years' time, the rate of bilateral mastectomy increased by 150 per cent in the United States.
d. This was despite the fact that women had cancer only in one breast.
e. 4.2 per cent chose double mastectomy in 1998.
f. 11 per cent choose to go in for it in 2003.
g. Of the 152,755 women studied over six years, 4,969 received a double mastectomy.
h. It was seen that white women, younger women and women whose cancer originated in their milk glands, increasing risk of occurrence in the other breast, were more likely to choose a double mastectomy.
i. This trend could be due to the fact that women believed that a double mastectomy will improve a patient's chance of survival.
j. It could also be the result of misinformation given out by doctors that patients outcome will improve if both breasts are taken off.
k. Some patients also went in for it as they wanted their breasts to have the same symmetry after the operation.
l. This research is ongoing and interviews with patients and surgeons are on the cards.
m. Researchers are also interested in finding out if a surgeon's age or gender plays any role in a woman's decision.
n. Another thing researchers are looking into is whether the increased use of magnetic resonance imaging machines contributes to the double mastectomy trend as MRIs often reveal non-cancerous breast abnormalities.