Rise observed in the rate of double mastectomies among male breast cancer patients

A new study has revealed that today more male breast cancer patients are opting for double mastectomies, choosing to get even their unaffected breast tissue removed as part of cancer treatment.

Researchers conducting the said study examined a total of 6,332 men diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing surgery for the same. For the first time, it was found that the number of men getting both their affected and unaffected breast tissues removed by means of double mastectomies have risen significantly.

The researchers found that the percentage of double mastectomies among men in 2010-2011 was 5.6%, which is almost double of the percentage in 2004-2005; in 2004-2005, the percentage of double mastectomies among men was 3%.

Here, it must be mentioned that the study also found that there has been a notable rise even in the frequency of prophylactic double mastectomies among women. The rise is even more noticeable in women who are privately insured, white and young.

Ahmedin Jemal, the study’s lead researcher and the VP of surveillance research at the ACS (American Cancer Society), said that he and his team haven’t yet managed to find the exact reason behind such a drastic rise in the percentage of men undergoing the procedure. He added that this rise is concerning as the procedure is not known to offer much help to male breast cancer patients.

Jemal explained that doctors often recommend prophylactic double mastectomies to some women with BRCA gene mutation that leaves them predisposed to ovarian or breast cancer. However, he added that researchers have still not unearthed enough evidence supporting the fact that it’s an issue even in men.


Jemal said that he thinks that the rise is observed not only among high-risk individuals but also among other men and women.

According to statistics offered by the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men who have the BRCA 2 gene possess a 7% greater risk of suffering from cancer.

According to the ACS, each year sees around 2,350 men getting diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. On the other hand, the number of women getting diagnosed with the same condition every year is as high as 231,840. Statistics shows that while 1 in every 8 women gets breast cancer, for men the proportion is as low as 1 in 1000.