Surgical Oncology News

This section features a sampling of news related to surgical oncology from the popular press, from press releases received, or SSO news directly pertinent to SSO members.

More women undergoing preventive mastectomies

Author: Barbara Mannino, Fox Business
Aug 05, 2011

It's a pretty safe bet that the threat of breast cancer crosses the minds of most American women sometime in their lives. Simply being a woman creates a risk factor, says the American Cancer Society; women's breast cells are constantly exposed to the growth-promoting effects of estrogen and progesterone.

But what if you fall into the 5% to 10% group of breast cancer cases thought to be hereditary and often caused by gene mutations inherited from your parent's families?

Women whose mother, sister, daughter, or two or more close relatives has a history of breast cancer, diagnosed before age 50, are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, but thanks to advances in medical science, there are steps they can take to lower their risk, including increased surveillance, mammograms and more frequent MRI and ultrasounds.

More radical interventions like preventive mastectomy are responses to two distinct scenarios:

Bilateral prophylactic mastectomy helps women who are at high risk because of hereditary factors like high family incidence or the mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) references surgery on women who have received a diagnosis of unilateral breast cancer or cancer in one breast and elect to have their unaffected breast removed as a preventative measure.

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