-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer patients
who've had a mastectomy are more likely to have breast
reconstruction if a plastic surgeon is part of the treatment
decision team, new research shows.
The study also found that where a woman goes for breast cancer
treatment -- ranging from small private practices to large medical
complexes -- affects the type of care she receives when it comes to
"Breast reconstruction is a very complex treatment issue that requires a lot of discussion. Our results suggest that discussion can be quite different depending on where a patient gets initial treatment," lead author Dr. Steven J. Katz, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and of health management and policy at the U-M School of Public Health, said in a university news release.
"Patients with similar characteristics or preferences may get a different story from different surgeons -- and this depends largely on whether a plastic surgeon is on the treatment decision team from the get-go. Plastic surgeons are the ones with the expertise to explain the increasingly complicated procedure options," Katz noted.
He and his colleagues surveyed 1,780 breast cancer patients and
291 surgeons about treatment choices, and found that about
one-third of women who undergo mastectomy go on to have breast
There are many reasons why a woman may not have reconstruction,
but the researchers concluded that 31 percent of the variation
could be attributed solely to how often a woman's surgeon talked to
a plastic surgeon prior to mastectomy.
"This is a deeply intimate and important decision that women have to make. It should be made with the right information about reconstruction options in consultation with a plastic surgeon involved up front in the treatment planning," Katz said. "Patients should be particularly attentive to engaging their surgeons on the first visit about this important treatment option."
The study findings were released online Aug. 28 in advance of
publication in the October print issue of the journal
The American Cancer Society has more about
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