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PROTECTIVE MASTECTOMY

THAT WOMEN AREN’T HAVING MASTECTOMIES UNNECESSARILY IS GOOD NEWS, BUT ONE GROUP OF WOMEN SELECTS THEM MORE AND MORE OFTEN, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Surgeons don’t routinely advocate mastectomy for women diagnosed with breast cancer, a recent JAMA study found.  But for women with certain genetic mutations and/or family history of the disease, having a mastectomy is often voluntary, of both the affected and unaffected, or contralateral breast.  Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

PARK:  There are certain algorithms and risk models that we use to assess whether or not the incidence of breast cancer in the contralateral breast really merits consideration for mastectomy.  That’s on an individual basis, because even though we can have good risk models, particularly for example in women who are young, with BRCA1 or 2 mutations that’s still not an absolute reason to get a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy and I think we’re honest and up front with women but it’s individual because it depends on what women are comfortable with.              :32

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.



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