Are you a BRCA Patient Interested in Prophylactic Mastectomy & Breast Reconstruction?
By: Brandy (Korman) Haslam
Angelina Jolie's decision to have prophylactic mastectomies and immediate reconstruction prompted women across the country to look into their hereditary breast cancer risk.
Surgeons at PRMA say they want women to know that the preventative surgery Jolie had is an option for those with a strong family history of breast cancer and a positive BReast CAncer genetic test. In most cases, the procedure is also covered by insurance.
Preventative mastectomy is reported to reduce the risk of breast cancer by over 90 percent.
"Prophylactic mastectomy decreases the risk of future breast cancer by 97-99%," says PRMA surgeon Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo. "Since the breast tissue is removed, the surgery also removes the need for regular screening mammograms and MRI's and also the need for preventative drugs like Tamoxifen."
Although there is some debate as to whether preventative mastectomies are necessary, some even saying they are extreme, women who are choosing to have the procedure say it is the best option for them.
"With my family history and risk of breast cancer with the BRCA gene, I feel that prophylactic mastectomies are not extreme, but necessary," says PRMA patient Melissa Ray, who is traveling to PRMA from Arizona for the procedure.
"I witnessed what breast cancer can do and I will do anything to reduce my risk," says Ray.
The surgeons at PRMA say it's important for women to also know that reconstruction options like the DIEP flap, which give the patient a more natural look are available for women choosing preventative mastectomy and reconstruction. Implants are not the only option.