Familial Breast Cancer Risk Assessment
Much information is available to inform women about their risk of developing breast cancer. Family history of cancer, hormonal factors, breast density, alcohol use and other lifestyle factors are all important to determine your individual risk. As your breast surgeon I can assess your personal risk factors and provide a risk assessment tailored to your own circumstances. Working with genetic counsellors, specialist nurses and other specialists we can offer you a range of options to reduce your risk. These can encompass lifestyle changes, breast surveillance, drug treatments, genetic testing, and preventative surgery.
Preventative, or prophylactic, surgery
This is usually considered for women having a BRCA gene mutation, or mutations in other breast cancer predisposition genes. It can be offered also to women with strong family history without a proven gene mutation, and also to women with specific ‘high-risk’ breast lesions.
A bilateral mastectomy reduces the risk of breast cancer by up to 90% and can generally be safely performed sparing the nipple areola and with an immediate breast reconstruction procedure.
Women with a BRCA gene mutation are at risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancer. For these women, a bilateral risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (removing both ovaries and tubes) is an option to reduce their risk of ovarian cancer. This is routinely done as key-hole surgery, and in addition to reducing the risk of ovarian cancer by removing the ovaries this procedure also reduces the risk of breast cancer by about 50%.