J Korean Surg Soc.  2001 Mar;60(3):237-242.

Comparison of Psychiatric Symptoms between Total Mastectomy and Breast Conserving Surgery in Breast Cancer Patients

  • 1Department of General Surgery, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Seoul, Korea.


PURPOSE: There is a continuing question as to whether breast conserving surgery confers a measure of psychological comfort superior to that of total mastectomy for women diagnosed with breast cancer. The purpose of this study was to determine the differences of the psychiatric symptoms experienced between modified radical mastectomy and breast conserving surgery patients. METHODS: We compared 38 patients who underwent modified radical mastectomy with 16 patients who underwent breast conserving surgery from a psychiatric aspect. Psychiatric symptoms and distress were measured following surgery with two self-rating scales: the Symptom Check List-90-Revision (SCL-90-R) and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ: 28-item version). RESULTS: There were no statistically significant differences between the modified radical mastectomy patients and the breast conserving surgery patients on the two scales. CONCLUSION: From our findings, it appears that breast conserving surgery is not superior to modified radical mastectomy in terms of psychiatric morbidity for breast cancer patients. The absence of differences between modified radical mastectomy patients and breast conserving surgery patients on psychiatric measures is probably due to several factors. In this study, these factors appeared to be a fear of cancer recurrence, the nature of breast cancer itself, the burden of radiation therapy, a late post operative period and selection bias.


Breast cancer; Breast conserving surgery; Psychiatric symptoms

MeSH Terms

Breast Neoplasms
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