Prophylactic Mastectomy

John Han-Chih Chang, MD and Kenneth Blank, MD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

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Question
Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
I do not as yet, have breast cancer, however, I have so many signs and symptoms I am looking for information to help me decide if I should have a mastectomy before cancer develops. Please Help!!!

I can't find much at all to aid me in this decision.


Answer
Ken Blank, MD, and John Han-Chih Chang, MD, OncoLink Editorial Assistants, reply:

Thank you for your question.

The most important thing to do at this point is to see your physician to have your signs and symptoms evaluated. Mastectomies are not usually done without an indication, such as a diagnosis of cancer, premalignant condition, or rarely if a patient has a strong family history or other genetic predisposition. Again consult your physician for a full evaluation. Please also access the following sites on breast cancer for further information:

Fast Facts About Breast Cancer
Early Detection
Breast Health and Breast Cancer Network

These are some of a few good sites to access breast cancer information. Focus on screening and diagnosis at these sites first, because that is where you need to direct your questions and concerns.


News
Unfounded Fears Prompt Prophylactic Mastectomy Choice

Sep 18, 2013 - Among young women who undergo a bilateral mastectomy for cancer in one breast, contralateral prophylactic mastectomy is often chosen to reduce risk of future cancer and improve survival, according to research published in the Sept. 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.



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