Breast Cancer Risk Assessment & preventative (risk-reducing) Surgery

Family history of breast cancer

Only 5-10% breast cancers are genetically linked. The women with inherited gene mutations are at high-risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime, most common mutations are BRCA 1 and BRCA2. The risk assessment can be carried out in consultation with the experts, which relies on family history.

A test to detect gene mutations could be carried out in women assessed to be at significant risk however that needs to be done with careful understanding of the pros and cons of the test and its results.

Women who have been detected with a gene mutation (BRCA mutations and some other genes) with significant lifetime risk of breast cancer could choose to have risk-reduction mastectomies with immediate reconstruction. There is a very small group of women who have high-risk family history but no identifiable gene mutation could be detected and these women might be recommended risk-reduction breast surgery by the geneticist.

The options of immediate breast reconstruction (those suitable for you) would be discussed at the time of consultation. Most of these procedures require more than one operation and require careful discussion and planning.

We can help you with advice and management if you qualify any of the following criteria.

  • Do you have family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer and need advice?
  • Do you wish to consider genetic testing for BRCA mutation?
  • Not sure if the family history of cancer is significant for you?
  • Do you wish to discuss your options due to high-risk family history of breast cancer?
  • Do you wish to discuss the significance of personal history of breast atypic?

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Breast Cancer Risk Assessment (91 KB)

Risk-reducing or prophylactic surgery (indicated for high-risk women)

This involves bilateral mastectomies with (or without) immediate breast reconstruction. Most women have an option for nipple preservation, the pros and cons of which would be discussed with you.

The options for reconstruction involves implants or your own body tissues. You could refer to implant reconstruction and reconstruction using body tissues (under breast cancer surgery section) for details.

Psychological counselling

We would suggest and support psychological counselling for women undergoing risk-reducing surgery, although this is not essential.

The breast care nurse would be able to guide and support you with the counselling process.

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