Double mastectomy improves prospects for patients with BRCA1 mutation but not BRCA2, study finds

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Women with a mutant gene that increases their risk of breast cancer can increase their life expectancy with a radical double mastectomy, however this depends on which mutation they carry, a study has found.

Patients with a mutation in the gene BRCA1 lowered their risk of dying prematurely by pre-emptively removing both breasts, according to Dutch researchers.

However the same study, which followed 2,700 women with mutations increasing their risk of breast cancer, found those with the related gene (BRCA2) did not further reduce their risk of dying of the disease by having both breasts amputated.

”For BRCA1 mutation carriers, bilateral risk-reducing mastectomy not only drastically reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, but, as a consequence, also improves breast cancer-specific survival when compared to surveillance,” said lead researcher Dr Annetee Heemskerk-Gerritsen, from Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam.

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Emma Pennery, clinical director at Breast Cancer Care, said it was vital women were talked through all the risks and benefits when considering their options, and these findings could guide decision making.

“Discovering you have a faulty BRCA gene can be extremely distressing – on top of worrying about getting cancer, people are faced with the excruciating decision of whether to have a double-mastectomy. This research will help steer many towards a course that is right for them.

Read full, original post: Double mastectomy lowers risk of breast cancer death for some women with mutant gene, study finds

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