Venezuela Amasses Mastectomies

Venezuela’s collapsing health system has breast cancer patients resorting to “20th century” treatment for lack of better options.

Today’s standard treatments allow women to preserve their breasts through complementary chemotherapy, radiology, and hormonal treatments (for hormone-driven cancer). But Venezuela’s public health system no longer offers these treatments, and with the average Venezuelan earning $1 a month, they are out of reach for most. Surgeons are incredulous at the excessive number of mastectomies coming through their hospitals; at one facility, mastectomies are up 30-40% in 5 years.

This new normal “goes against everything I have learned about breast surgery,” says Jorge Uribe, director of a private clinic.

The Lancet

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