Harvard Women's Health Watch

Preventive mastectomy

Worry is driving some women to unnecessarily have both breasts removed.

Living through the physical and emotional toll of breast cancer is so traumatic that some women can't bear the thought of doing it again. That's why a growing number of women who have already been diagnosed with cancer in one breast are taking drastic measures to avoid getting cancer in the other, by having both breasts surgically removed (a procedure called prophylactic mastectomy).

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