What You Need to Know: Breast Cancer, Suicide, Mastectomy, and Breast Implants

Diana Zuckerman, PhD, The National Center for Health Research: 2016

Breast cancer patients often describe having a new appreciation for life, so it is important for women and their friends and family members to know that women who have breast cancer have an increased likelihood of committing suicide for up to 15 years after their cancer diagnosis. 1 2

Even more surprising, the one study of suicide among women who got breast implants after mastectomy found that their suicide rate was 10 times higher compared to other mastectomy patients. 3 More research is needed, but for some reason this study has received little attention and no other studies were conducted to learn more.  It is important to note that all the women in the study had early-stage breast cancer – which experts agree does not require a mastectomy. In fact, the latest research indicates that women who undergo mastectomy do not live as long as women of the same age and diagnosis who undergo lumpectomy and radiation instead.

The Bottom Line

If mastectomy is not medically necessary it is a bad choice, because cancer patients who undergo mastectomy don’t live as long as lumpectomy patients and they are more likely to commit suicide.

Read the original article here, and our summary of it here.

  1. Misono, S., Weiss, N.S., Fann, J.R., Redman, M., & Yueh, B. (2008). Incidence of suicide in persons with cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology,26, 4731-4738. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.13.8941  
  2. Riihimäki, M., Thomsen, H., Brandt, A., Sundquist, J., & Hemminki, K. (2012). Death causes in breast cancer patients.Annals of Oncology, 23, 604-601. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr160  
  3. Le, G.M., O’Malley, C.D., Glaser, S.L., Lynch, C.F., Stanford, J.L., Keegan, T.H.M., & West, D.W. (2005). Breast implants following mastectomy in women with early-stage breast cancer: Prevalence and impact on survival. Breast Cancer Research, 7, R184-R193. doi: 10.1186/bcr974