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    More American Women Opting for Mastectomy

    Rate went up 36 percent between 2005 and 2013, researchers say

    WebMD News from HealthDay

    By Robert Preidt

    HealthDay Reporter

    MONDAY, Feb. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- More women in the United States are undergoing mastectomies, even though the overall rate of breast cancer has remained stable, a new federal government report reveals.

    The rate at which American women opted for mastectomy jumped by more than a third (36 percent) from 2005 to 2013, according to data from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

    In sheer numbers, the mastectomy rate increased from 66 to 90 per 100,000 women during the study period. There was a particularly steep climb in double mastectomies, which more than tripled: From nine to 30 per 100,000 women. By 2013, double mastectomies accounted for one-third of all mastectomies, the AHRQ said.

    Double mastectomies seem to be happening at a younger age, as well, the report found. In 2013, women who had double mastectomies were about 10 years younger than those who had single mastectomies -- an average age of 51 years versus 61 years, respectively.

    The rate of women without breast cancer who underwent preventive double mastectomies also more than doubled, from two to more than four per 100,000 women, the report found.

    Some women with a genetic risk for breast cancer may undergo a double mastectomy as a preventive measure, even if they do not have cancer. Most notably, in 2013, actress and director Angelina Jolie made headlines when she announced she would undergo a double mastectomy after learning that she carried a variant of the BRCA1 gene that raises the risk for breast cancer.

    The new report also found that both single and double mastectomies are increasingly being performed as an outpatient surgery. In 2013, 45 percent of all mastectomies were outpatient procedures, the AHRQ report found.

    The data "highlights changing patterns of care for breast cancer and the need for further evidence about the effects of choices women are making on their health, well-being and safety," Rick Kronick, AHRQ director, said in an agency news release.

    "More women are opting for mastectomies, particularly preventive double mastectomies, and more of those surgeries are being done as outpatient procedures," he added.

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