For years, celebrities have come forward and been open and honest regarding having breast cancer. From Christina Applegate to Sharon Osbourne, most who have undergone a double mastectomy have been open and honest through the whole process.
Yet it still came as quite a shock when Angelina Jolie announced to the world that she had undergone the same procedure, not because she had been diagnosed, but in order to prevent cancer as she had tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene. While many understand the concept of having to undergo a double mastectomy once cancer has been diagnosed, it is important to understand what the BRCA gene means and what it means for you.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 (which stand for breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 and 2) are human genes that belong to a class of genes known as tumor suppressors. In normal cells, BRCA1 and BRCA2 help ensure the stability of the cell’s DNA and help prevent uncontrolled cell growth. A mutation of these genes has been linked to the development of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. If a woman inherits a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2, her risk is greatly increased of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer. It is common for women who have the faulty gene to have multiple, close family members who have been diagnosed with these diseases as well.
So what are your options if you are diagnosed with a defective BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene? Many turn to exactly what Angelina Jolie did: A preventative mastectomy. A preventive mastectomy, also called prophylactic or risk-reducing mastectomy, is the surgical removal of the breasts in an effort to prevent or reduce the risk of breast cancer. It is done to prevent or reduce the risk of breast cancer in women who are at high risk of developing the disease. This preventative measure can significantly reduce by about 95% the chance of developing breast cancer in moderate- and high-risk women.
Making the decision to undergo a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy is a large one but in the long run it could possibly be a life-saving procedure. Contact us Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Group today to review your reconstructive options.
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Group