Entries in Mastectomy (10)


Early Stage Breast Cancer: Lumpectomy May Be Better than Mastectomy

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, women may face an agonizing decision: Should I opt for a lumpectomy or mastectomy?

For over two decades, it's been believed that in early stage breast cancer, the outcomes between mastectomy and lumpectomy plus radiation were equivalent.  

But a study of more than 112,000 women treated and followed for five years found that the lumpectomy option may be better.  Those patients had a 13 percent lower mortality rate from breast cancer and a 19 percent lower mortality overall than mastectomy patients.

A researcher at Duke Cancer Institute says it should reassure women that lumpectomy remains an excellent choice for those with small early stage breast cancer.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Miss America Contestant Will Have Breasts Removed After Pageant

Stockbyte/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Allyn Rose lost her mother to breast cancer when she was just a teenager, so after the newly-crowned Miss District of Columbia competes in the Miss America pageant in January, she will undergo a double mastectomy as a preventive measure for her health.

Rose, 24, said she would rather remove both of her breasts than risk getting cancer, a disease she is genetically predisposed to because of a gene mutation carried by the women in her family. Her mother was first diagnosed with cancer at age 27, had her right breast removed, and then found a lump in her left breast 24 years later. She died at age 51.

"Knowing I am a carrier I just said to myself I don't want to put myself through what my mom went through. I want to be here for my kids' -- no pun intended -- crowning achievements," Rose said.

Rose, originally of Newburgh, Md., and now living in Washington, D.C., won the title of Miss District of Columbia in June. In 2011, she placed in the top eight at the Miss USA pageant as Miss Maryland. She said that the upcoming Miss America pageant will be her last with both of her breasts.

"A lot of people are confused when I say I'm choosing life over beauty, but it's beauty as a stereotype, the Hollywood idea of beauty, the physical attributes. I'm not going to let my desire to achieve those goals distract me from my own health," she said.

Rose's family are carriers of Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, a rare disease that affects men almost exclusively, but is carried by females. Rose's mother carried the disease, for which there is a high correlation to breast cancer, she said.

"I met with my surgeon, and the doctors that treated my mom, and doctors are 50-50 with this," she said. "Some say you can put it off, you don't have breast cancer. Others say it is an incredibly wise decision, your mom was diagnosed at 27, only three years from where you are now, why not make a proactive decision?"

Rose's decision to be proactive was similar to an increasing number of women in America who decide to have both breasts removed as a precaution against cancer. A 2008 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that the rate of the procedure, called a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, more than doubled between 1998 and 2003.

After making the decision to have the surgery, Rose said she became passionate about prevention and proactiveness. She has based her platform for January's pageant on the idea that everyone should be proactive about their health.

Rose said she plans to have the operation after she is done serving out her title with the Miss America organization, whether that is her Miss District of Columbia title, which expires next June, or that of Miss America, for which she would serve until 2014.

Rose said she was not afraid of life without breasts.

"There's been leaps and bounds in surgery over the last few years, in reconstruction, to make your body look the same as it did before. Or you can lose a nipple. If surgery doesn't go the right way, you could lose the entire breast. But I knew my mom my whole life with one breast, and she never let that stop her from achieving her goals of being a good mom and wife. So I said if I had to live my whole life with no breasts, I'd rather be alive," Rose said.

When she is finished competing, and finished with surgery, Rose said she hopes to go to law school. She graduated from the University of Maryland, where she studied government and politics, and hopes to work as a constitutional attorney in Washington. The scholarship from winning the Miss America crown would help her pay for law school, she said.

In the meantime, Rose has been working as a paralegal and a model, working for print advertising and QVC. She said she is thrilled to be representing Washington, D.C. in the pageant.

"I'm really looking forward to really being able to share my message with America. It's the most iconic swimsuit pageant in the world, and a year from now my body won't be the same body as it is then. I want to showcase that this is what my body looks like now. But if I were to win this, if I lose my breasts, it doesn't make me less of a Miss America."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Breast-Sparing Operations Often Mean More Surgery Later

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Partial breast removal surgery to treat cancer is not likely to be a one-time operation, according to many breast cancer experts and a study released Thursday.

One in five women who opt for partial breast removal, or breast-conserving surgery, may need a second operation to remove more breast tissue, according to a study of more than 55,000 British women.

Repeat surgery rates may be slightly higher among American women -- about one in four -- according to a study published last February in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Breast-conserving surgery, including lumpectomy and partial mastectomy, is a less radical form of cancer surgery that seeks to remove the localized tumor or cancerous tissue within the breast.  Additional surgeries are often performed when the doctors find additional tumors, or if the disease has spread to nearby lymph nodes.  

Regarding breast-conserving surgery as a one-time fix may lead some surgeons to remove too much breast tissue the first time, or even to overlook the need to perform additional surgery.  Instead, the goal for both patients and surgeons is to find the clear margins of the cancer, which may take more than one try, many experts said.

British researchers looked at data collected from the Hospital Episode Statistics database of more than 55,000 women ages 16 and older who underwent breast-conserving surgery between 2005 and 2008.

Twenty percent of the women underwent additional surgery, and 40 percent of those who had repeat surgeries underwent a mastectomy, according to the findings that were published Thursday in the British Medical Journal.

The women were nearly twice as likely to undergo additional surgery if the tumor was ductal carcinoma in situ, an early localized form of the cancer in which it may be harder to detect the boundaries of the disease.

"The only way to be guaranteed a single surgical procedure with breast cancer is to perform the largest operation we perform -- mastectomy with complete auxiliary lymph node removal," said Dr. Ben Anderson, director of the breast health clinic at the University of Washington.  

Still, many experts said that despite the findings, they would not recommend mastectomy over lumpectomy or partial mastectomy.

"The breast cancer survival rates are no different between women who undergo lumpectomy followed by radiation versus women who undergo mastectomy," said Dr. Keith Amos, assistant professor of surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  "I counsel each patient before a lumpectomy that obtaining clear margins may require more than one operation.".

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Giuliana Rancic’s Surgery Successful, Husband Says

Dan MacMedan/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Television hostess Giuliana Rancic underwent a successful double mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery on Tuesday, E! News announced.

“G is doing really well,” her husband, Bill Rancic, told the network. “Her surgery lasted about four hours and the doctors were very pleased with the result.”

Giuliana Rancic, 37, announced her decision to undergo the surgery earlier this month on NBC's Today show. She found out she had breast cancer in October after she had a mammogram prior to starting fertility treatment. Later that week, she had a double lumpectomy.

But the couple found out that the cancer didn’t completely clear out of one breast, prompting her decision to have a double mastectomy.

Dr. Marisa Weiss, president and founder of, told ABC News after Rancic’s announcement that a mastectomy may be medically necessary in cases where doctors can’t remove the entire lump.

“For someone with early-stage breast cancer, having a lumpectomy with radiation is equally as effective as a mastectomy, but only if doctors can get clear around the lump," she said.

Many women, Weiss said, choose to have the other breast removed in order to prevent cancer on that side, or if they already had cancer that was removed, to prevent it from coming back.

“With the double mastectomy, I have less than a one percent chance of getting it back. With another lumpectomy, radiation and medication, I could have seen 20 to 30 to 40 percent chance in my lifetime, and for me it just wasn’t worth it,” Giuliana Rancic said.

The Rancics have been very open about their struggle with fertility, and Giuliana Rancic said she hopes that after the surgery she can move forward with her plans to have a baby.

Her husband said his wife is doing well and is in good spirits.

“She had a little bit of pain through the night but is feeling much better this morning and was cracking jokes,” he told E! News.

And Giuliana had a message of her own to share.

“I want to thank all the viewers and fans for their support and prayers,” she said. “The tweets and notes have not gone unnoticed. I am very grateful.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Reconstruction After Mastectomy: Surgeon Works to Restore Hope

Comstock/Thinkstock(GREAT NECK, N.Y.) -- We have heard a lot about breast cancer prevention and treatment, but there is a component that is not spoken about as often -- the physical and emotional impact that comes with the loss of a woman’s breasts for the treatment or prevention of cancer.

Dr. Ron Israeli of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, P.C., in Great Neck, N.Y., is a plastic surgeon, as well as a sculptor, who developed a project called Breast Reconstruction -- Restoring Wholeness, for which he made life-size sculptures of six of his patients.

The exhibit serves as a three-dimensional reflection of the transformation a woman’s body goes through after a mastectomy and breast reconstruction and speaks to the weight of this type of surgery.

Speaking about women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, Dr. Israeli says in a short documentary produced by Mediastorm: “Now all of a sudden they have to make decisions, important decisions, real decisions, under-fire, there is a sense of urgency and there is a fear.”

Through his surgery and his sculptures, Dr. Israeli tries to quell that fear by not only rebuilding a woman’s physical body, but by also working to give those at the beginning of the process hope that they will be whole again.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Battling Breast Cancer at 31

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tomomi Arikawa said she always knew she would probably get breast cancer. Her mother, Keiko, had discovered the disease when she was 48, and her grandmother had been diagnosed in her 60s.

But when Arikawa discovered a lump in her breast, she was still shocked. She was only 31 years old.

“I thought, maybe they’d find some calcifications on my mammograms when I was 35 or something,” said Arikawa, who is now 32. “But I never thought I’d have a two-centimeter tumor at 31.”

The ABC News story editor told Good Housekeeping that both she and her mother had tested negative for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which gives women up to an 80 percent risk of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives. The magazine reported that of the 200,000 U.S. women who get breast cancer each year, fewer than seven percent are under age 40. And only five to 10 percent of new cases are linked to a family history like Arikawa’s.

Her surgeon, Dr. Elisa Port, co-director of the Dubin Breast Center at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, said although breast cancer patients like Arikawa lack the tell-tale BRCA 1 and 2 mutations, they may have genetic factors leading to breast cancer that simply haven’t been discovered yet.

“Probably in someone like Tomomi, there’s an accumulation of different genetic mutations. We just can’t test for them yet,” Port told Good Housekeeping.

“To be honest, I didn’t worry that I was going to die, because my grandmother and my mom both survived,” Arikawa said. “At that point I wasn’t fearful of death. I just realized I needed to pull it together and make some decisions.”

After talking with her surgeon, Arikawa decided to completely remove her breast with the tumor -- a single mastectomy. Some women with extensive family histories of breast cancer decide to have both breasts remove to lower their risk of ever getting the disease. But Arikawa said she wasn’t ready to make that choice.

“I just couldn’t wrap my head around getting a mastectomy on a breast that had nothing wrong with it,” she said. “For me, maybe it was psychological, trying to hang on to some form of normalcy.”

Because she was so young at the time of her diagnosis, Arikawa faced another complication from the disease. The treatments she would receive might wipe out her ability to have children in the future. Arikawa had to decide if she wanted to preserve some of her eggs before her treatment.

“Not only did I have breast cancer at 31, now I have to think about having children,” Arikawa said.

Initially, Arikawa wasn’t sure she wanted to have children, for fear of passing her breast-cancer genes on to a daughter who might get the disease even earlier in life.

With the advice of her physician, Dr. Port, Arikawa decided to preserve her eggs, as an “extra insurance policy,” in case she ever decided to have children. Treatments can cost thousands of dollars, but Arikawa got financial help from Fertile Hope, an initiative of the LIVESTRONG foundation. A Fertile Hope spokeswoman said women with a cancer diagnosis who make below $75,000 are eligible for financial assistance with egg and embryo freezing and can receive donated medications to help with the treatment.

Today, Arikawa is back to work as a story editor for ABC’s 20/20. She said she would encourage other young women with a family history of breast cancer to find a doctor they can trust with whom they can discuss all aspects of the disease.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Health Reporter Chooses Double Breast Removal

Photodisc/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Linda Hurtado, a health reporter for WFTS in Tampa, Fla., had an emotional on-air discussion on Tuesday about her decision to have both of her breasts removed after she discovered she had a ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, a growth that can lead to invasive breast cancer.

Hurtado told viewers that she was always burdened by her family’s history of breast cancer.

“I’ve lived my whole adult life in fear of getting breast cancer,” Hurtado said. “I watched the disease ravage my beautiful mother.”

When Hurtado was diagnosed with DCIS, she decided to forego the extensive treatment and instead have a double mastectomy.

“After watching my mother die, now seeing the fear in my own children’s eyes, I decided to only dance with this devil once,” she said.

DCIS is the earliest stage of breast cancer, sometimes referred to as “stage zero.”

It is not an advanced form of breast cancer, said Dr. Jennifer Litton, assistant professor of breast medical oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, but if left untreated, some of those growths can turn into invasive tumors.

Some scientists consider a complete removal of the breasts an extreme approach to such an early form of the disease. But Litton said women often have many factors to weigh when they’re deciding how best to treat their breast cancer.

“People who have significant family histories or have seen a family member go through treatment may choose bilateral mastectomy, especially when the amount of worry is impacting their life more than the actual surgery would,” Litton said. “Patients should have a very frank conversation with their oncologist, and put it into perspective of their current life, take into account their family history, hereditary cancers, and make the decision that is best for them.”

In her report, Hurtado noted that a double mastectomy was “my decision, which doesn’t mean it’s the right decision,” and urged her viewers to continue to get regular breast cancer screenings.

Litton noted that there are other effective options for treating breast cancer.

“There’s excellent data that lumpectomy plus radiation is a very good treatment for DCIS,” she said. “I don’t think everyone with breast cancer should undergo a bilateral mastectomy, but it is appropriate in some cases.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wanda Sykes Opts for Double Breast Removal

Paul Drinkwater/NBC(LOS ANGELES) -- Stand-up comic and actress Wanda Sykes told Ellen DeGeneres that she asked doctors to remove both of her breasts when they discovered she had a ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS -- a growth that can sometimes lead to invasive breast cancer.

In the interview to air on Monday's Ellen show, Sykes told DeGeneres doctors made the discovery while performing lab work after her breast reduction procedure.

Sykes is not the first celebrity to have a bilateral mastectomy in the face of a breast cancer threat. In 2008, actress Christina Applegate underwent a similar procedure after doctors found breast cancer and she tested positive for the breast cancer gene BRCA.

Sykes told DeGeneres a family history of breast cancer was also part of her motivation to undergo the procedure. However, removal of both breasts is not the normal course of treatment for DCIS -- a condition some doctors term “stage zero” breast cancer.

“DCIS is not considered cancer but rather a precancerous or noninvasive condition,” explained Dr. Susan Love, a breast cancer specialist and president of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. “As such it does not have the potential to kill you.”

Love said that, according to the few studies that have been conducted, DCIS has a 30 to 50 percent chance of developing into an invasive cancer if left untreated -- which means that in at least half of women, it will never develop into full-blown cancer. It may even disappear.

Still, Love said that the best approach regarding treatment is an individual decision -- particularly since there is currently no way to determine which DCIS will progress into cancer and which will not.

“Any individual needs to weigh all this and decide for herself what treatment is the best for her,” Love said. “Obviously Wanda Sykes made a considered opinion.”

Love also noted that even a bilateral mastectomy does not completely eliminate the chances of developing breast cancer, as some breast tissue may still be left behind.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Breast Cancer Surgeon Makes Radical Decision to Go Under the Knife

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Dr. Christine Teal, chief of breast surgery at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., has spent her career navigating women through the most difficult moment in their lives -- a diagnosis of cancer.

But it was her mother's second diagnosis of breast cancer last year that spurred Teal to make her own life-altering decision.  Teal decided to undergo a double mastectomy in her 40s, even though she had no cancer in her body.

"It was the aggressiveness of my mother's cancer," Teal told ABC News.  "My mother did everything right.  She took Tamoxifen, which is supposed to lower your chance of a recurrence.  She did all of her screenings."

Teal's decision to undergo a double mastectomy, even though she does not have cancer and has not been tested for BRACA, frequently called the breast cancer gene, strikes many as extreme.

But it is an ultimate "What would you do?" question increasingly facing women today, 12 percent of whom, according to statistics, will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of a lifetime.

"It's very personal," Teal said of her decision to undergo the surgery, which is 90 percent effective in preventing the disease.  "It's not right for everyone."

Teal's journey began in November 1997 when her mother, Nancy Brown, was diagnosed with a low-grade invasive ductal carcinoma in her left breast, a nonaggressive form of breast cancer that was treated with radiation and the drug Tamoxifen.

A month after her mother's diagnosis, Teal got a call from her best friend, Laurie, with news that she, too, had the disease.

Then in June 2010, the family's worst fears came true.  The cancer had re-emerged in Teal's mother, this time in her right breast.  A mammogram, ultrasound and BRCA gene test didn't show any sign of the cancer, leaving it only to an MRI at Teal's hospital, George Washington, to confirm the diagnosis.

"Honestly, I don't know if I would have done it if my mother's second cancer was not as aggressive," said Teal.  "The fact that we couldn't even see it on an X-ray or mammogram but had to do an MRI, that really got to me."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mastectomy Patients Fear Another Cancer Diagnosis after Implants

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that saline and silicone implants may be linked to anaplastic large cell lymphoma -- a rare but aggressive form of lymphoma -- plastic surgeons nationwide have been bombarded with calls and e-mails from worried patients.

"In some ways, I think this can be seen as positive when these reports come out because it heightens awareness of all cancers, period. And that's a good thing," said Dr. David Song, vice chair of surgery and chief of plastic surgery at the University of Chicago, who has spoken to many of his patients about the report. "But patients should not panic. We're talking about a very, very rare form of cancer."

Although most women get breast implants for cosmetic reasons, about 57,000 women in the U.S. have had reconstructive breast implantation according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

"I think if you look at the positives of reconstructive breast implantation compared to the possible negative of this extremely rare cancer, the positives are overwhelmingly striking," Song said. "It can restore a sense of self, a sense of femininity, a sense of normalcy that many women feel breast cancer robbed them of."

Song added that 34 to 60 patients in 10 million women with implants got this form of lymphoma. "I think right now it's in the forefront of people's minds because of the media coverage, but we need to make sure people understand the reality of the stats," he said.

Song said the American Society of Plastic Surgeons is working closely with the FDA to investigate the link.

"It is such an exceptionally rare occurrence. But at the same time, it gives us pause to make sure we're doing the right thing for all our patients," Song said. "It's important to get the word out for all surgeons to be on the lookout for this. And I think patients should discuss this with their physicians, who should maintain the current vigilance for detecting cancer."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio