In general, a woman should consider undergoing preventive breast surgery, and discuss it with her physician, if she is at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. For example, a woman who carries the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation may want to consider preventive breast cancer surgery, because she is at an increased risk for developing breast cancer. Studies show that eight of 10 women with these mutations will develop breast cancer, compared to only one in 10 women in the general population. Also, a woman who has received prior radiation treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma may also want to consider preventive surgery, as her lifetime risk for developing breast cancer is significantly increased.
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Dennis Citrin, MD, Oncology, answered
It may seem shocking for a woman without breast cancer to have a double mastectomy -- but there are times when such a drastic move may make sense. In this video, Dr. Jesse Dirksen discusses the genetic mutations that can place a woman at very high risk of breast cancer and the pros and cons of preventive surgery.