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Nationwide Study Finds Breast Cancer Patients Unaware of Surgical Options

The majority of women who underwent lumpectomy or mastectomy surgeries for breast cancer report that the scars from those surgeries negatively affect their daily lives. Yet one-third of patients said that their physician did not tell them about surgical options that minimize scarring, according to a report published in the journal BMC Cancer.

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer worldwide, with an estimated 269,000 newly diagnosed cases and more than 42,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2019, according to the National Institutes of Health. More than 3.5 million women in the U.S. have survived breast cancer, many of whom bear scars from surgical treatments.

"After surviving the trauma of cancer, many women must still battle with the psychological and physical consequences of both a new cancer diagnosis and its treatment," said author Jennifer S. Gass, MD, FACS, chief of surgery at Women & Infants Hospital, a Care New England hospital. "Our findings illustrate how important it is for surgeons to ensure their patients are aware of the long-term impact of cancer surgery and how it will affect their bodies. Patients should know if they might be candidates for surgical options that minimize morbidity. A surgical scar is a morbidity," said Gass.

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