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Preventative Surgery Best To Combat Cancer

Preventative Surgery Best To Combat Cancer

Would you opt for preventative surgery to reduce the risk of developing cancer?

Preventative surgeries could be a lifesaver for women with a high risk of developing cancer – but how many would opt for such a drastic surgery to reduce their chances?

Scientists have found that women who carry a genetic mutation which boosts their chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer, could substantially reduce their risks by opting for preventative surgery.

Although removing the breasts or ovaries before any signs of cancer have developed is highly drastic preventative measure, research has shown it to be very successful.

prevent ovarian and breast cancer Preventative Surgery Best To Combat Cancer

Preventative Surgery To Reduce Risk Of Ovarian And Breast Cancer

Dr. Timothy Rebbeck, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine said:

What our findings show is that women who choose to have these surgeries will reduce their risk of dying of breast or ovarian cancer by about 70 to 80 percent, which is pretty profound,

The study involved almost 2500 women from 22 different medical centers across the country. Each of the women had the inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene that is associated with breast and ovarian cancer.

Half of the participants had already undergone either a mastectomy (surgery to remove the breasts) or a salpingo-oophorectomy (surgery to remove the ovaries).

All the women were monitored for at least 3 and half years, after which time the researchers found that no breast cancer had developed in any of the women who had undergone surgery. 7 percent of the woman who didn’t undergo surgery were diagnosed with breast cancer during this period.

The study yielded similar results for ovarian cancer. At the 6 year mark, no ovarian cancer had been found in those who opted for preventative surgery, while 3 percent of women who didn’t have surgery developed the cancer.

One of the main messages of our study is that salpingo-oophorectomy should be part of any management plan for any woman who is found to have these genetic mutations…

There really isnt anything else that can reduce a womans risk by this much.

Virginia Kaklamani, co-author of an editorial that accompanied the study and director of translational breast cancer research at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, in Chicago agreed:

These findings really emphasize how important it is for all women with a family history of early breast or ovarian cancer to undergo genetic testing

I see women all the time who get the genetic test only after theyre diagnosed with cancer,

Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can mean a lifelong risk of breast cancer anywhere between 56 to 84 percent; and a 36 to 63 percent risk of developing ovarian cancer, while women who do not have the mutated genes have a 12 percent risk of developing these cancers.

Kaklamani hopes that the findings will help encourage woman to ask about genetic testing and whether or not they should be thinking about preventative surgery. According to Rebbeck, Doctors usually recommend that women who test positive for the mutated BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes should have their ovaries removed at around 35, but are ok putting it off until age 40.

The findings are published in the Sept. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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