Study recommends breast, ovary removal for women at high cancer risk


1 in 8 women (13%) in the United States suffers from Breast cancer. It is the cancer that forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). Breast cancer occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare. A latest study appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that women carrying the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes should consider preventive surgery because they are at a very high risk for breast and ovarian cancers

2010 Breast Cancer Statistics

About the study
Dr. Susan M. Domcheck of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine in Philadelphia led a study. Dr. Susan and colleagues studied nearly 2500 genetically at-risk women who underwent surgeries with those who preferred frequent cancer screenings. The screenings consisted of yearly mammograms, MRIS, trans-vaginal ultrasounds every 6-12 months, along with CA-125 blood testing.

Researchers found that

  • Over three years of follow-up, women (10%) who underwent preventive breast removal didn’t get breast cancer. However, 7% of BRCA-positive women who kept their breasts developed breast cancer.
  • BRCA-positive women (38%) who chose to have their ovaries and fallopian tubes removed had a significantly lower risk of both breast and ovarian cancer compared to women who did not opt for the surgery.
  • Removal of...

    breasts can reduce the risk of breast cancer by as much as 85%.
  • Women who have either of the two BRCA genes have a lifetime risk of 56% to 84% of developing breast cancer.
  • Women with the BRCA1 gene have a 36% to 63% risk of ovarian cancer
  • Women with BRCA2 gene have a 10% to 27% risk.

Researchers told that they were positive that such prophylactic surgeries reduce the risk of cancer significantly, but the new study further evident the fact. It is the largest investigation to date and the first to differentiate the benefits based on genes in a woman that provide a survival benefits.


If a woman or a man has a family history of breast, ovarian or prostate cancer, it is wise to talk to your physician about genetic testing.  It might help you to opt for surgical options that will decrease the risk of cancer.

Source: latimes


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