Patt Morrison for September 1, 2010

Breast and ovary removal to prevent cancer… what would you do?

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Jason Meredith/Flickr

A new Journal of the American Medical Association study confirms that women carrying certain genes should consider preventive surgery to reduce their very high risk for breast and ovarian cancers.

The question of having preventive surgery is one facing many women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, which makes them at high risk for breast or ovarian cancer. The largest study to date has just been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the researchers have found a significant benefit to removal of both breasts and/or the ovaries in preventing these cancers. According to study co-author, Dr. Claudine Isaacs, "If you have this preventive surgery, it not only decreases the risk of disease but also significantly decreases the risk of death, which is [the] most important thing you're trying to do." Dr. Isaacs joins Patt with the details on her findings and the importance to women facing a gut-wrenching decision about their health.


Dr. Claudine Isaacs, co-Director Fisher Center for Familial Cancer Research at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is co-author of the study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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