Preventive or prophylactic surgery is also an option, but it's no guarantee. Although as much at-risk tissue is removed as possible, cancer could still develop in any remaining tissue. That said, prophylactic mastectomy cuts breast cancer risk by 90% in BRCA mutation carriers. A 1999 New England Journal of Medicine study also demonstrated a 90% reduction in breast cancer incidence in women with a family history of breast cancer.Prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy -- removal of healthy fallopian tubes and ovaries -- can provide double cancer protection. It cuts breast cancer risk by 50% in premenopausal women and cuts ovarian cancer risk by 90% in both pre- and postmenopausal women.
Of interest, it was recently reported that a man in the United Kingdom had what may be the first prophylactic prostatectomy because of a positive BRCA finding. This 53-year-old man is married and has several children. He also has several family members with prostate and breast cancer. After finding out that he had a BRCA2 mutation, he decided to be proactive and have his prostate removed.
Medscape Internal Medicine © 2013 WebMD, LLC
Cite this: BRCA: Best Advice for Patients Who Worry - Medscape - May 28, 2013.