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How many patients opt for breast reconstructions?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Though studies have shown that women who choose to have breast reconstructions (BRs) after mastectomies have better psychological outcomes, researchers in California have determined that many women choose not to undergo BR, often due to a lack of knowledge of the procedure.

A team of scientists at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, recently examined thousands of medical histories in order to determine the state's rate of post-mastectomy BR, which they put at 29 percent.

The study's authors said that while a BR rate of nearly one in three is good, it could be significantly higher, especially considering that the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 made it mandatory for insurance providers to cover reconstruction after mastectomies.

Researchers searched the inpatient database of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development in order to break down BR recipients by age, race and other factors.

They found that patients who are the most likely to choose a BR are younger Caucasian women with private insurance. The team suggested that education campaigns might be able to show the public that BRs can help women of all ages and backgrounds overcome the physical and psychological effects of a mastectomy.

Kruper L, Holt A, Xu XX, Duan L, Henderson K, Bernstein L, Ellenhorn J. Disparities in Reconstruction Rates After Mastectomy: Patterns of Care and Factors Associated with the Use of Breast Reconstruction in Southern California. Ann Surg Oncol. 2011 Feb 10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21308486 Accessed May 25, 2011.

Extract: Though studies have shown that women who choose to have breast reconstructions (BRs) after mastectomies have better psychological outcomes, researchers in California have determined that many women choose not to undergo BR, often due to a lack of knowledge of the procedure.

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