Study finds many women not getting reconstruction after mastectomy

October 25, 2011 | by City of Hope Staff

Laura Kruper, M.D.(Photo by Walter Urie) Laura Kruper, M.D.(Photo by Walter Urie)

City of Hope researchers have uncovered factors that influence whether women undergo reconstruction after mastectomy for breast cancer: age, race, health insurance and access to advanced hospital facilities.

A team including breast surgeon Laura Kruper, M.D., director of the Rita Cooper Finkel and J. William Finkel Women’s Health Center, recently studied reconstruction rates after mastectomy for invasive breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS. The studies were published in the Aug. 1 and Oct. 1 issues of the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Even though reconstruction rates have climbed steadily, the researchers showed that fewer than one in three women who underwent mastectomy for invasive breast cancer got breast reconstruction.

Reconstruction can help patients feel more satisfied with their care and their self image, but some patients are going without it, Kruper said. That’s fine if women decide they’d rather not have it, but the researchers want to know if other factors are limiting women’s choices. If they can figure out why women aren’t getting reconstruction, they may be able to recommend ways to reduce the barriers to surgery.

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