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Double Mastectomy Not the Answer, Study Says

Researchers are urging women to be weary of attempts to improve survival rates with double mastectomy.

After Angelina Jolie's public decision to have a double mastectomy, the conversation began to churn about whether or not this was a healthy option. Jolie received praise for her bravery as well as critical remarks that she was giving others the wrong message, CBS reported. A study published Sept. 17 in the Annals of Internal Medicine stated that there is little evidence to back this type of decision.

CBS reported that during the 1990s, 4 to 6 percent of women who got a mastectomy had both the affected and healthy breast removed, but in recent years researchers estimate the number has tripled or quadrupled. Having a healthy breast removed, which is called a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, does very little to improve survival rates for most. 

"Additional clarification of conflicting responses – specifically, the inconsistencies between the importance of improved survival as a reason for choosing CPM and the acknowledgment that CPM is not associated with better survival outcome – would be helpful," study authors wrote.

The researchers found that despite the fact that women were aware of the ineffectiveness of the procedure, many were still getting a CPM to increase survival rates.

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