The greatest increase is in women under the age of 40, which has seen a 17.6 per cent rise in the rate of double mastectomies each year from 1998 to 2011. The increase is only slightly lower among older women, among whom there has been a 14.3 per cent increase each year over the same period. In 1998, just 2 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer had a double mastectomy, but this has risen to 12.3 per cent of women by 2011.
The procedure isn't saving lives, say researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The women are no more likely to survive than those who chose instead the more conservative approach of radiotherapy and breast-conserving surgery.
(Source: JAMA, 2014; 312(9): 902)