Study: Prophylactic surgeries protect women
Some women who test positive for genetic mutations that increase the risk for breast and ovarian cancers undergo surgery to protect themselves. But it's been unclear how much that really helps. A new study finds that these "prophylactic" operations do significantly decrease the risk for those cancers.
Susan Domchek of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia and colleagues studied 2,482 women who tested positive for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in Europe and North America between 1974 and 2008.
None of the women who underwent mastectomies developed breast cancer malignancies in the three years following their surgeries, the researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In contrast, 7 percent of the women who did not get the surgery were diagnosed with breast cancer. Similarly, women who had their ovaries removed virtually eliminated their risk for ovarian cancer, the researchers reported.
In an editorial accompanying the study, Laura Esserman of the University of California, San Francisco, and Virginia Kaklamani of Northwestern University in Chicago said more research like the new study would be valuable to track the effectiveness of treatments that occur because of new tests.
August 31, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
Categories: Cancer , Prevention , Women's Health
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