Preventive Measures Can Provide Long-term Benefits
Prophylactic Mastectomy – BRCA Gene
If you are at high risk of developing breast cancer, you may want to consider preventive measures to reduce your risk. All of the members of the New York Breast Reconstruction Associates, along with our team of reconstructive surgeons, are dedicated to providing patients with personalized and dignified care. Please contact our office to set up an appointment and allow us to counsel you regarding your treatment options.
Prophylactic mastectomy is the removal of one or both healthy breasts for the purpose of decreasing the risk of developing breast cancer. Individuals who are at high-risk of developing breast cancer are considered candidates for bilateral prophylactic mastectomies. You may be a candidate for prophylactic mastectomy if you meet any of the following criteria:
- First-degree relatives with pre-menopausal breast cancer (such as a mother or sister with breast cancer before the age of 50)
- Harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation (see below)
- History of breast cancer in one breast which increases the risk of developing cancer in the other breast
- History of radiation treatment to the chest wall earlier in life
- Dense breasts that make the evaluation of breast abnormalities difficult
- Diagnosis of lobular carcinoma-in-situ, a risk factor for future invasive breast cancer
Prophylactic mastectomies are typically done using either a skin-sparing or nipple-sparing approach. With immediate breast reconstruction now available for most patients, prophylactic mastectomy and reconstruction can frequently be accomplished in a single procedure. By consulting with your breast surgeon or oncologist, you can determine if preventive treatment with prophylactic mastectomy is right for you. Our team of breast reconstruction specialists can help you decide about prophylactic mastectomy and can help you understand your options for breast reconstruction. If you choose to proceed with mastectomy and reconstruction, we will work closely with you to satisfy your needs and goals.
BRCA Gene Mutation
Gene mutations can occur naturally in the body, and while some have no affect, other mutations can have a negative health impact by increasing a person’s risk of developing cancer. Two genes in which harmful mutations have been shown to preferentially increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer are known as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. All people have the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which normally function to help repair damaged breast cells. When these genes have harmful mutations, they don’t function normally and the risk of developing breast cancer is higher. The presence of these gene mutations, which are passed on from one generation to the next, can be determined through a simple blood test. While the presence of harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations does not necessarily guarantee that breast cancer will develop (just as the absence of harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations does not guarantee that cancer will not develop), the risk of developing breast cancer is greatly increased and has been reported to be as high as 85 percent.
There are a number of risk factors that are associated with the harmful BRCA gene mutations. These include having family members who have tested positive for these gene mutations, a family history of early onset breast cancer or ovarian cancer, having had early onset breast cancer yourself (in cases where cancer has already been diagnosed), and being of Eastern European or Ashkenazi Jewish descent. If you are diagnosed with a deleterious BRCA gene mutation, consideration should be given to proceeding with bilateral prophylactic mastectomies.
Contact the Plastic Surgeons of the
New York Breast Reconstruction Associates at Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, PC
If you are at high-risk of developing breast cancer, and you are contemplating preventive treatment with prophylactic mastectomy, we can help you understand your options. You can arrange a consultation with our team by contacting our Long Island, New York plastic surgery office today.