These stories are based on information gathered from health
professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health
Selah, age 39: After I got over the
shock of finding out that I have a BRCA gene change, I decided I would have
surgery. But which one? What a tough choice-have my breasts removed or go into
early menopause by having my ovaries removed. I finally chose to have my
ovaries removed. I feel like that was the best step for me. My husband and I
were done having children. Menopause hasn't been so bad. I was going to have to
go through it sometime anyway. And I'd rather be in menopause than have cancer.
Radiation therapy typically involves using a large machine called a linear accelerator to deliver precise amounts of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. The radiation stops the reproduction of cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy tissues. Radiation therapy has been shown to improve survival in women with breast cancer.
Print these Questions to Ask before your first appointment.
Radiation therapy for breast cancer can be used:
After lumpectomy or mastectomy, either alone...
Adrianna, age 34: I have a fairly strong
family history of breast cancer, but I don't think surgery is for me. I am
taking tamoxifen to prevent cancer.
Fran, age 40: I have tested positive for a
BRCA gene change, so my risk for cancer is very high. I'm determined to do
everything I can to keep from getting breast and ovarian cancer. I recently had
my ovaries removed, and I am scheduled to have my breasts removed later this
year. Just having taken that first step has made me feel much better about my
June, age 25: Even though I have tested
positive for a BRCA gene change, I'm just not ready to take a drastic step like
cutting off my breasts or removing my ovaries and going into menopause. I'm
planning to have a family, so I'm choosing intensive surveillance, at least for
now. Maybe I'll reconsider in a few more years, but for now, having frequent
checkups and testing is enough.
Kathe Gallagher, MSW
Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer
Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Douglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology
August 31, 2007
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 31, 2007
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