Some women at their young age can be at a high lifetime risk of breast cancer.
According to a research conducted by New York University, there has been a sharp increase in the number of women undergoing a risk-reducing mastectomy in recent years due to hereditary breast cancer risk.
Patients undergoing risk-reducing mastectomy have the highest rate of immediate breast reconstruction. It means that plastic surgeons play an important role in their care, together with other specialists including breast surgeons, oncologists, and genetic counselors.
The research was performed by working with young women who seek BRCA (breast cancer-associated) gene testing due to a family history of breast cancer.
As BRCA and other genes confer a high lifelong cancer risk, young women with a family history of breast cancer may feel that they should be tested as early as possible. Although surgery may reduce distress and anxiety, mastectomy itself can have negative physical and psychological consequences.
“Seamless communication between multidisciplinary teams is essential to offer evidence-based decision making for these patients,” said Dr. Nolan S. Karp, a surgeon.
Because of the high public attention to risk-reducing mastectomy and breast reconstruction, plastic surgeons may sometimes be the first physicians to encounter young women at high genetic risk of breast cancer.
The findings were published in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.