This increase in removal of unaffected breasts has occurred despite the lack of evidence for a survival benefit from the treatment, along with associated costs and possible complications.
The number of men with breast cancer who underwent surgery to remove the unaffected breast nearly doubled between 2004 and 2011, says a new study.
"Health care providers should be aware that the increase we have seen in removal of the unaffected breast is not limited to women," said lead researcher Ahmedin Jemal, vice president of surveillance and health services research at the American Cancer Society.
Breast cancer in men is rare, accounting for only about one per cent of all cases in the US.
In women (particularly younger women), the use of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) surgery to remove the unaffected breast, has increased.
The percentage of women with invasive breast cancer in one breast undergoing the surgery increased from about 2.2 per cent in 1998 to 11 per cent in 2011, the study said.
This increase has occurred despite the lack of evidence for a survival benefit from treatment, along with associated costs and possible complications.
To explore whether the same increase was occurring among men, the researchers looked at treatment among 6,332 men who underwent surgery for breast cancer limited to one breast between 2004 and 2011.
The researchers found the rates of CPM among men nearly doubled between 2004 and 2011, from three per cent to 5.6 per cent.
"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 noted.
The findings appeared in the journal JAMA Surgery.