Dr. Carlson on Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomies

Grant W. Carlson, MD
Published Online: Friday, March 21, 2014
Grant W. Carlson, MD, professor of surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, chief, Division of Plastic Surgery, Emory University Hospital, explains why more women with breast cancer are electing to get contralateral prophylactic mastectomies (CPMs).

Breast cancer is a life-threatening and life-jarring event that most patients do not want to go through a second time, Carlson explains. Even though these women know that prophylactic removal of the other breast is not going to make them live longer, Carlson suggests that CPMs are generally considered because they offer peace of mind.

In some instances, young women choose to have a CPM because they have a strong family history of breast cancer, Carlson notes. There is something about the post-screening process, Carlson believes, that seems to make women feel that a CPM is the best choice. In many situations, Carlson suggests that the patient starts the conversation about CPM.

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