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BRCA+ Women Receptive to Prophylactic Mastectomy

-- Jeff Muise

Friday, March 13, 2009

FRIDAY, Mar. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Women who test positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation and are at high risk for breast cancer are more receptive to prophylactic mastectomy to reduce risk than women who test negative, according to research published in the Apr. 15 issue of Cancer.

Jennifer K. Litton, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues surveyed 540 patients tested for BRCA1 or BRCA2 from 1997 to 2005. Of the 312 responses, 86 had tested positive and 226 had tested negative for a BRCA mutation. A two-sided Fisher exact test was used to compare survey responses.

Seventy percent of BRCA-positive women felt that prophylactic mastectomy was the most effective way to reduce the risk of breast cancer, while just 40 percent of BRCA-negative women agreed, the investigators found. Asked if prophylactic mastectomy is the only way to reduce worry about developing breast cancer, 64.7 percent of BRCA-positive women and 34.4 percent of BRCA-negative women agreed. Of the women who felt prophylactic mastectomy was the only way to reduce worry, 84.2 percent underwent prophylactic mastectomy, while only 15.8 percent of women who disagreed did, the researchers report.

"Patients with a deleterious BRCA mutation may find prophylactic mastectomy to be the only effective way to reduce their worry. Health care providers and genetic counselors must take this into account when assessing a woman's needs at the time of genetic testing and results disclosure," the authors write.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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