Mercy Breast Cancer Surgeon Dr. Neil B. Friedman Discusses Research Indicating an Increase in Mastectomies in Early Cancer Detection

January 23, 2015
Breast Center Doctor Neil Friedman

Finding out you have breast cancer is difficult enough. Then you have to decide what to do about it.

A recent study from Vanderbilt University Medical Center revealed that more American women diagnosed with early cancers are now choosing to have mastectomies.

Jodi Simpkins has a family history of breast cancer. She was diagnosed twice with the disease after mammograms spotted suspicious areas within six months of each other, leading to two separate lumpectomies. But that was only the beginning.

"I was sent for another treatment, radiation, hormone therapy and I met with many doctors, and was advised that I'm very young to be facing this. It's not going to go away even with treatment, so at that time I, decided to go forward with a double mastectomy," Simpkins said.

According to Dr. Neil B. Friedman, Director, The Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy, the number of mastectomies performed at Mercy has remained pretty much the same. However, a recent study reveals that mastectomy rates for early cancers are increasing nationwide. Experts aren't sure why, but one reason may be that women are getting more breast MRIs. There is also another reason.

"If you talk to women, a lot of them will say, 'I never want to do this again.' They never want to have to think about chemotherapy again so they say, 'You know what? I'm 50 years old. I've been married for, you know, 25 years. I have three children. I'm going to have a bi-lateral mastectomy and I'm finished and don't need to think about it again,'" Dr. Friedman said.

Six months after her double mastectomy, Simpkins is having breast reconstruction. She said mammograms and discussions with her doctor helped her make the best choice to beat her cancer.

"A woman has to choose what they believe is best for them, for their family, for their future. Each person is different," Simpkins said.

"So it's really important to educate patients so they understand what the risks are with breast reconstruction, what the risks are with the likelihood of them getting a second breast cancer in the other breast or in the same breast, so they make informed decisions rather than uninformed decisions or just emotional decisions," Dr. Friedman said.

View Dr. Friedman’s interview regarding rise in breast removal for early breast cancer.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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