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Psycho-social impact of bilateral prophylactic mastectomy.

LITTLE is known of the psychological and social impact of bilateral prophylactic mastectomy for women at increased risk of developing breast cancer. Women's decision to undergo surgery may be based on biopsy history, perception of risk and degree of worry about cancer. A prospective study using questionnaires and semi-structured interviews investigated the psychosocial impact of bilateral prophylactic mastectomy for women with increased risk of breast cancer and pre-operative risk factors for post-operative distress. Bilateral prophylactic mastectomy reduced psychological morbidity and anxiety and did not have a detrimental impact on women's body image of sexual functioning. Women who chose such surgery had a higher (but often inaccurate) perception of their risk of developing breast cancer; genetic counselling is important to ensure that decisions made about surgery are based upon accurate risk perception. (1)

(1.) Hatcher MB, Fallowfield L, A'Hern R, 2001. The psychosocial impact of bilateral prophylactic mastectomy: prospective study using questionnaires and semistructured interviews. BMJ 322:76-79.
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Title Annotation:Research
Publication:Reproductive Health Matters
Date:May 1, 2001
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