Study: Most Women Don't Get Reconstructive Breast Surgery After Mastectomies

Insurance costs likely behind the fact that less than 25 percent opt for the surgery, researchers say.

by Lesley Kennedy • Reporter

Insurance may be the biggest reason behind new findings that most women do not have breast reconstruction surgery following mastectomies, USA Today reports.

Researchers say fewer than one-quarter of women undergo the surgery, with those most likely to go forward with reconstruction found to be 50 or younger, with commercial health insurance, according to the newspaper. 

Although Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance cover breast reconstruction, co-pays can still make it expensive, USA Today adds.

“The cost of a mastectomy has remained stable [over the last decade],” Dr. Dawn Hershman, who was involved with the study and is an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center, tells the newspaper. “But the cost of reconstruction has increased nearly threefold over this decade.”

The researchers advocate that makers of public policy “ensure access to reconstruction for all women who desire it,”  USA Today reports. Yes, yes and yes.

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First Published December 12, 2011

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