Nipple-Sparing Mastectomies May be as Safe as More Invasive Sx

Preventive surgeries with nipple preservation don't appear to raise breast cancer risk in high-risk women
Preventive surgeries with nipple preservation don't appear to raise breast cancer risk in high-risk women

HealthDay News — Preventive mastectomy that preserves the nipple and surrounding skin may be as effective in preventing breast cancer in high-risk women as more invasive surgeries, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBS), held from April 13 to 17 in Dallas.

The study included 348 women with BRCA genetic mutations. They had preventive nipple-sparing mastectomies between 1968 and 2013. Of those women, 203 had both bilateral mastectomies and 145 had one breast removed preventively after cancer occurred in the other breast.

Three to 5 years after surgery, none of the women who had bilateral nipple-sparing mastectomy developed breast cancer at any site. No breast cancers developed in the remaining skin, nipples, or lymph nodes on the side of the breast removal. Seven women died from breast cancer during follow-up. All of them had a previous or concurrent breast cancer at the time of surgery and their late-stage disease was attributed to that cancer. The findings show that nipple-sparing mastectomies could be effective at reducing breast cancer risk in women with BRCA mutations, the researchers said.

"Nipple-sparing mastectomy is gaining wide acceptance because of its superior cosmetic results, but pockets of the medical community remain skeptical that it is the right choice for the BRCA population," lead author James Jakub, MD, a breast surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said in an ASBS news release. "This is the largest study of its kind to address the controversy, and to show that nipple-sparing mastectomy is as effective at preventing breast cancer as traditional mastectomy."

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