August 1, 2019
A growing proportion of women with early-stage breast cancer without familial or genetic risk factors are electing contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM)—even though the procedure is not clinically indicated and confers no clear survival benefit. Heightened emotions accompanying a breast cancer diagnosis can drive some women to make a quick decision to undergo CPM. Instead, these women should be encouraged to deliberate longer and choose the treatment most consistent with their needs and values. Nurse practitioners are well positioned to provide a holistic assessment of each woman’s circumstances and assist her in making a treatment decision aligned with these circumstances. The purpose of this article is to identify and discuss strategies to guide women during the days and weeks following a breast cancer diagnosis—as they consider treatment options such as CPM.