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Abreast of News

| On 31, Jan 2015

It looks like Angelina Jolie made the right decision. A double mastectomy might be the most sensible recourse when

  • you know you have an abnormal gene linked to breast cancer, including BRCA1, BRCA2, or PALB2
  • you have a strong family history of breast cancer among more than one first-degree relative, such as a mother, sister, or daughter

However, in the last few years, many more American women with early stage cancer in one breast have opted for a double mastectomy despite the fact that women who don’t have either of the factors above are unlikely to develop a second breast cancer (the risk is 1% or less a year).

A study (published in the September 2014 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. Read “Use of and Mortality After Bilateral Mastectomy Compared With Other Surgical Treatments for Breast Cancer in California, 1998-2011” showed that lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy results in the same survival rates as for those who are treated with double mastectomy.

Ultimately, everyone should decide what works best for them. If a double mastectomy leaves a woman less worried or stressed, then she should go for it. But only after reviewing all the information available.

A bad decision is when the patient is led by emotion, misinformation or friendly advice.  – Ella Tan


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