Cancer causes 10% rise in breast amputations in Luxembourg
The number of breast amputations in Luxembourg due to cancer has risen by 12% in just five years, the health ministry said on Tuesday, meaning roughly one in every 600 women in the country had to undergo the treatment in 2021.
Doctors carried out 602 mastectomies on 513 women two years ago to treat breast cancer, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said in a written response to a parliamentary question, a rise from 535 such surgeries in 2017.
"It has to be noted that mastectomies can also take place under different conditions, like benign alterations in the breast or in gynaecomastia (non-cancerous breat enlargement) in men," Lenert wrote, adding that mastectomies can also be a measure to prevent cancer in women who have a genetical predisposition.
The numbers mean that one in every 660 women in the Grand Duchy was forced to have a breast amputation two years ago, based on population numbers provided by the country's statistics agency.
In terms of breast amputations, Luxembourg hovers around the EU average, Lenert said, with the country having lower rates of partial and complete mastectomies than its neighbours France, Belgium and Germany in 2019. Partial reductions were twice as frequent as complete ones in 2019 in the Grand Duchy, according to data from the EU's statistics agency Eurostat.
Every woman between the age of 50 and 69, who is insured with the CNS, can get a free mammography every two years. However, waiting times, depending on the hospital, exceeded 12 months in 2021, Lenert said last year. Over 500 women get diagnosed with breast cancer in Luxembourg each year.
In 2021, 137 women underwent a breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, compared to just 54 in 2017, the health minister said. The ability to carry out a reconstruction depends on a woman's health, Lenert said.
Cancer remained the second leading cause of death across both genders in Luxembourg in 2020, which accounted for 1,055 deaths, after cardiovascular diseases which claimed the lives of 1,086 people, according to figures from the country's official statistics agency Statec.