Mass Mastectomies in Venezuela

Venezuelan doctors are increasingly resorting to mastectomies for cancer patients instead of radiotherapy because of the country's economic problems.

The recent crash in global oil prices, which account for 95% of Venezuela's exports, is creating a hard-currency shortage that makes it difficult to buy imported goods—like parts for medical machines. More than half of the several dozen radiotherapy machines in public hospitals are broken, according to the country's medical federation.

"We're practicing medicine from the 1940s here, and we know that's not right," said oncologist Gabriel Romero, who estimates that at the clinic where he works, about 70% of all patients now undergo modified radical mastectomies.

Associated Press

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