Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Few Women Who Opt for Preventive Mastectomy Have Regrets

continued...

Not everyone feels the same way. Take breast cancer survivor Andrea Mulrain, 34. She opted to travel from her home in Stonybrook, N.Y., to Paris for an experimental treatment so she did not have to lose her breast because of the disease. Instead, Andrea chose bracytherapy, a treatment in which radioactive pellets are placed near the tumor to kill the cancer.

Her sister, Jessica Mulrain, 30, is now considered at high risk for breast cancer.

"I think that a prophylactic mastectomy is way too radical and extreme and may end up being unnecessary because you don't know if you are going to get breast cancer," Jessica tells WebMD. "Instead, I plan to get mammograms regularly and do breast self-exams every month."

Preventive mastectomies now make up about 3% of all mastectomies, but as more women get tested for the gene mutations, the number will likely increase.

"So many women who come from a family with a lot of breast cancer and early death from the cancer are afraid of their breasts, so they just want them off," Debbie Saslow, PhD, director of breast and cervical cancer at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, tells WebMD.

But "women who undergo prophylactic mastectomy still have to continue going for mammograms and do special breast self-exams to check the scar," she says. Before getting tested for the genes, all women should see a genetic counselor, she says.

For more information on preventive mastectomies, visit the Cancer Society web site at www.cancer.org or call 1-800-ACS-2345.

 

1|2

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
 
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
 
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
VIDEO
Resolved To Quit Smoking
SLIDESHOW
 
Woman getting mammogram
Article
Screening Tests for Women
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
serious woman
Article
 
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow
SLIDESHOW