Psychosocial functioning in women who have undergone bilateral prophylactic mastectomy

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the current psychosocial functioning of women who had previously had a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. Women in the province of Ontario who had undergone prophylactic mastectomy between 1991 and 2000 were asked to complete questionnaires that assessed psychological distress, sexual activity, overall satisfaction with decision to have a prophylactic mastectomy, and body image. Ninety-seven percent of the women were satisfied with their decision to have a prophylactic mastectomy, but young women (<50 years) were less likely to report satisfaction than older women (p=0.001). Women with a strong family history of breast cancer or a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation experienced more cancer-related distress than those with a limited family history. Women who had reconstruction following mastectomy reported higher levels of satisfaction with general body shape and appearance than those without reconstruction. In conclusion, the majority of women were satisfied with their decision to undergo prophylactic mastectomy and were not experiencing abnormal levels of psychological distress, low levels of sexual activity, or difficulties with body image. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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