HealthBuddy Check 6


New study finds cancer survivors should keep healthy breasts

Posted at 6:57 PM, Sep 26, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-30 21:24:35-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Lauran John is a serious runner. Competing in races is her way of living life to the fullest. Not even breast cancer can stop her.

“It's devastating at first. I felt like I had so many years left ,” said Johnson.

Three years ago, at age 47, Lauran was told she had breast cancer. Her aunt had it and her mom was diagnosed 18 months before Lauran. Not only did Lauran remove the breast with cancer, she removed the other one -- a completely healthy breast.

“I thought I don't really want this to come back. I want to reduce having the risk of having the breast cancer again. So I just decided to have both of them removed ,” said Johnson.


A California study said breast cancer patients should keep their healthy breasts. They looked at data from almost 200,000 patients and found they didn’t live any longer compared to patients undergoing other cancer treatments.

“The false premise that's set up in this paper that we do bi-lateral mastectomies to improve survival and we don't ,” said Dr. James Pellicane, Virginia Breast Center

Dr. Pellicane said they treat the patient’s risks.

“We tell them that this does not improve your outcome and it doesn't reduce the risk of this coming back somewhere else outside the breast. What it does do is reduce the risk of a second breast cancer,” said Dr. Pellicane.


Lauren’s decision has brought her peace of mind. She can now spend her energy caring for her mom. At age 83, she’s battling breast cancer again. Lauren recalls asking her mother’s doctor’s the obvious question.

“If she had the breast removed, would the cancer be here and they said we wouldn't be having this discussion had she had the breast removed,” Lauran Johnson said.