Angelina Jolie’s newly revealed preventative double mastectomy is being lauded as a smart move after she discovered she carries the gene that drastically increases a women’s risk of developing breast cancer. She’s part of a growing number of women making the same choice. Why are they taking such drastic steps?

Many women like Angelina, and women recently interviewed by Katie Couric, cite their children as the main reason for taking such extreme measures to prevent cancer.

Since breast cancer can strike women at a fairly young age, it’s often done as a way to ensure that any children won’t have to endure losing their mother at a young age. 24-year-old beauty queen Allyn Rose chose double mastectomy after losing her mother at age 16.

 

Are Preventative Mastectomies a Good IdeaDoes it Work?

Double mastectomies are fairly common for women who currently have or have had cancer in one breast, to reduce the risk of cancer cells reappearing in the other side.

But removal of the breasts before any cancer cells have developed is still quite uncommon. The reasons? It’s an extremely emotionally and physically difficult decision to make, and the results vary in effectiveness.

The science behind the practice is still somewhat uncertain, and it is a huge decision for a healthy woman to make. For some with extremely high-risk profiles, however, a preventive mastectomy can lower risk and provide a huge amount of peace of mind. An oncologist must be directly involved in recommending or discouraging this drastic step.

What to Do if You’re At Risk

If someone in your family was diagnosed with breast cancer, then you may have a higher risk of developing the disease yourself. Be vigilant about your breast health and schedule regular screenings with your doctor as well as performing breast self-exams every month.

If you’re considering preventive mastectomy, be sure to make the decision for yourself, and don’t let anyone pressure you into it.

Breast Reconstruction Options

If you’re facing or have already undergone mastectomy, you’ll probably want to start considering your reconstruction options right away. Implants aren’t the only reconstruction option available; fat transfer to the breasts is now emerging as a safe, natural way to reconstruct or augment the breasts.

If you’d like to learn more about this advanced cosmetic procedure, contact our New York fat transfer offices to schedule a free consultation with one of our expert surgeons.

Sources:

Katie Couric Interview: http://www.katiecouric.com/videos/one-womans-story-of-preventive-double-mastectomy/

http://www.xojane.com/it-happened-to-me/ihtm-i-had-a-preventative-double-mastectomy

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/preventive-mastectomy

http://www.wyff4.com/news/local-news/greenville-news/Doctor-discusses-double-mastectomy-as-preventive-measure-for-breast-cancer/-/9654794/20148178/-/4y02ce/-/index.html

http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/guide/preventive-mastectomy

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20647063,00.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/opinion/my-medical-choice.html?_r=2&

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/05/14/angelina-jolie-reveals-had-preventive-double-mastectomy-after-discovering/

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2013/05/angelina-jolies-double-mastectomy-choice-increasingly-common-still-medically-murky/