Prophylactic Mastectomy for Breast Cancer
A prophylactic mastectomy is the surgical removal of one or both breasts as a way to prevent breast cancer in high-risk women. Because this type of surgery is performed on a woman who has not been diagnosed with breast cancer, its goal is not to treat cancer, but rather to remove all breast tissue where cancer could potentially form, in order to reduce an at-risk woman’s chance of developing the condition in the future.
A woman might consider risk-reduction strategies, such as a prophylactic mastectomy, if she has been identified as having a very high breast cancer risk. Some factors that can influence breast cancer risk include:
- A personal history of breast cancer
- A strong family history of breast cancer
- BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations
- A diagnosis of lobular carcinoma in situ
- Radiation therapy to the chest before age 30
- Widespread breast microcalcifications (tiny deposits of calcium in the breast tissue)
- Extensive scar tissue resulting from multiple breast biopsies
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we understand that a woman’s decision on whether or not to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy is highly complex and personal, and our multispecialty team of breast cancer experts is available to help. In addition to providing education, guidance and support, we can thoroughly analyze a patient’s breast cancer risk, answer her questions and help her understand all of her options. Ultimately, our goal is to help each patient make fully informed decisions in choosing the path that is best for her.
The Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at Moffitt features a full-service clinic that offers the latest options in prevention, treatment and support for all breast-related conditions. Through our multispecialty approach, our patients receive the benefit of multiple expert opinions, which are strongly recommended for patients who are contemplating prophylactic mastectomy but have not been diagnosed with breast cancer.