There has been an increase in the number of American men with cancer in one breast who have surgery to remove their cancer-free breast, according to a study published in JAMA Surgery.

The study authors note that this is the first research to identify this trend in men, which has been occurring in American women for the past two decades. Ahmedin Jemal, D.V.M., Ph.D., vice president of surveillance and health services research at the American Cancer Society, and colleagues included 6,332 men who had surgery for cancer in one breast. Their surgeries occurred between 2004 and 2011.

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The researchers found that the percentage of men who also had their cancer-free breast removed rose from 3 percent in 2004 to 5.6 percent in 2011. Those most likely to have their cancer-free breast removed were younger, white, and privately insured.

“Health care providers should be aware that the increase we’ve seen in removal of the unaffected breast is not limited to women, and doctors should carefully discuss with their male patients the benefits, harms, and costs of this surgery to help patients make informed decisions about their treatments,” Jemal said in a journal news release.


  1. Jemal A, Lin CC, DeSantis C, et al. Temporal Trends in and Factors Associated With Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Among US Men With Breast Cancer. JAMA Surgery. [online ahead of print]. 2015. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2015.2657.