Many women have undergone unnecessary surgery to treat breast cancer, and what is more alarming is that these women are more likely to be old, poor or Hispanic, according to a new study.

The findings raised questions about whether it is a matter of education, paperwork load, lack of translation of information about breast surgeries or a procedure that was based on the level of insurance coverage, Reuters noted.

"The take-home message for patients and surgeons is, you have to be educated about the downstream consequences of the surgery you choose to do," Sharon Lum, a researcher and surgeon at Loma Linda University Medical Center told Reuters.

The study published in the Archives of Surgery found that as much as a third of 18,000 women analyzed in California underwent a mastectomy for early-stage breast cancer and also had removed lymph nodes under the armpits although the cancer had not spread outside the breast.

However medical research as recent as this year has found that the removal of lymph nodes is not needed for a woman to live longer if she is getting chemotherapy and radiation, Reuters reported.