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Removing Opposite Breast Improves Survival Slightly

Modest benefit observed in younger women with certain early-stage breast cancers

FRIDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Prophylactic removal of the opposite breast has a slight survival benefit in younger women with early-stage estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, according to a study published online Feb. 25 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Isabelle Bedrosian, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston analyzed survival data from 107,106 women with breast cancer who had undergone mastectomy between 1998 and 2003. Of these, 8,902 underwent contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM).

The researchers found that CPM was associated with improved breast cancer survival (hazard ratio of death, 0.63), which was due to improved survival among women 18 to 49 years old with early-stage (stages I to II) estrogen receptor-negative cancer (hazard ratio, 0.68). Five-year survival in this group was modestly improved by CPM (88.5 versus 83.7 percent). The authors note that this group had an overall higher risk of contralateral breast cancer at baseline.

"CPM is associated with a small improvement in five-year breast cancer-specific survival mainly in young women with early-stage estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer," Bedrosian and colleagues conclude.

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