With or Without Reconstruction, Hard To Predict How You Will Feel After Mastectomy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Clara Nan-hi Lee, MD Comprehensive Cancer Center The Ohio State UniversityDr. Clara Nan-hi Lee, MD
Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Ohio State University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The decision about breast reconstruction is very challenging because it’s unfamiliar, involves complex risk information, affects very personal concerns, and happens at a stressful time. One of the challenges is to predict how one will feel after the surgery. We know from psychology research that people often mis-predict their future emotions. So we were interested to see how well women predict their future well being after surgery.

The main findings are that patients having mastectomy without reconstruction believed they would be less satisfied than they turned out to be. And patients having mastectomy with reconstruction believed they would be more satisfied than they turned out to be.

 MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: It’s hard to know how you will feel after surgery. It’s important to have realistic expectations. Specifically to know that most patients who undergo surgery do adapt over time to the changes and that many other aspects of your life will continue to contribute to your well-being. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future studies that develop interventions to support women’s decisions about reconstruction should include an element about predictions or expectations. Specifically, they should remind patients that they will likely adapt to changes over time, and that other aspects of their lives are important to their well being. 


Lee CN, Pignone MP, Deal AM, Blizard L, Hunt C, Huh R, Liu Y, Ubel PA. Accuracy of Predictions of Patients With Breast Cancer of Future Well-being After Immediate Breast Reconstruction. JAMA Surg. Published online February 07, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.6112


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Last Updated on February 8, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD