US Pharm. 2009;34(2):HS-16. 

Researchers have found characteristics of unilateral malignant breast tumors that are linked to an increased likelihood of cancer in a patient's other breast.

A team from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, based in Houston, examined findings from 542 patients with unilateral breast cancer who underwent contralateral prophylactic mastectomy. Before the surgery, there was no clinical or radiographic evidence of a contralateral breast malignancy. Examination of the contralateral breast tissue revealed 4.6% with an occult malignancy and 15% with moderate- to high-risk histologic findings. "Defining the risk of contralateral cancer for breast cancer patients may help to reduce the rate of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy," Dr. Kelly K. Hunt and her associates reported online in Cancer.

Patients with unilateral breast cancer have less extreme treatment options than contralateral prophylactic mastectomy for risk reduction, including chemotherapy and endocrine therapy.

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