Who may consider prophylactic mastectomy to reduce breast cancer risk?
All women are at risk for developing breast cancer just by being female and advancing in age. However there are some traits that will increase your risk of developing breast cancer so significantly that you may consider a prophylactic mastectomy.
Women who have already developed breast cancer in one breast and have a strong family history of the disease, may decide to have both breasts removed. One breast is removed to get rid of the cancer, and the other, unaffected breast is removed to greatly reduce the possibility of developing another breast cancer in the future.
Women with a strong family history of breast cancer may be a candidate for prophylactic mastectomies. If you have a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer, especially if she was diagnosed before age 50, you may be at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. If you have multiple family members with breast cancer or ovarian cancer, your risk of breast cancer may be greater. A predisposition to breast cancer can be passed on to you through your mother's or father's side of the family.
Women who have a positive result from genetic testing are candidates for prophylactic mastectomies. Genetic testing can identify if you have mutations in genes that increase your risk of breast cancer or other cancers such as ovarian cancer. Genes known to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers include BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Women who have undergone radiation therapy to their chest before the age of 30 have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. These women may be candidates for prophylactic mastectomies.
In most cases, the breast construction is performed at the same time as the mastectomy. We offer a one stage prophylactic mastectomy and breast reconstruction to women that are appropriate candidates.