Why do mastectomy patients with breast implants commit suicide?

Diana Zuckerman, PhD

Breast cancer patients often describe having a new appreciation for life. It is important for women and their friends and family members to know that women who have breast cancer have an increased likelihood of committing suicide for up to 15 years after their cancer diagnosis [1].

Even more surprising, one study among women who got breast implants after mastectomy found that their suicide rate was 10 times higher compared to other mastectomy patients [2]. More research is needed, but this study has received little attention. No other studies were conducted to learn more.  However, it is important to note that all the women in the study had early-stage breast cancer – which experts agree does not require a mastectomy. In fact, the latest research on mastectomies indicates that women who undergo mastectomy do not live as long as women of the same age and diagnosis who undergo lumpectomy and radiation instead.

The Bottom Line

If mastectomy is not medically necessary, it is a bad choice since cancer patients who undergo mastectomy don’t live as long as lumpectomy patients and additionally, are more likely to commit suicide.



[1]  Misono, S., Weiss, N.S., Fann, J.R., Redman, M., & Yueh, B. (2008). Incidence of suicide in persons with cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology,26, 4731-4738. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.13.8941] [end Riihimäki, M., Thomsen, H., Brandt, A., Sundquist, J., & Hemminki, K. (2012). Death causes in breast cancer patients.Annals of Oncology, 23, 604-601. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr160

[2] Le, G.M., O’Malley, C.D., Glaser, S.L., Lynch, C.F., Stanford, J.L., Keegan, T.H.M., & West, D.W. (2005). Breast implants following mastectomy in women with early-stage breast cancer: Prevalence and impact on survival. Breast Cancer Research, 7, R184-R193. doi: 10.1186/bcr974