For women with the BRCA gene mutation considering risk-reducing surgery to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes, it is a struggle to balance conflicting information about whether to include a hysterectomy.
|Scooped by Graham Player Ph.D.|
How much does having a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation increase a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer? The National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA ) answers this question as follows:
“A woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2.”
“Breast cancer: About 12 percent of women in the general population will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives. By contrast, according to the most recent estimates, 55 to 65 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation and around 45 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by age 70 years.”
“Ovarian cancer: About 1.4 percent of women in the general population will develop ovarian cancer sometime during their lives. By contrast, according to the most recent estimates, 39 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation and 11 to 17 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA2 mutation will develop ovarian cancer by age 70 years.”
So women with BRCA gene mutations may face a difficult decision in terms of whether or not to opt for preventive surgery. Even amongst gynecologists and oncologists there are often strong opinions for or against preventive surgery.
This article may provide some clarification of the present level of understanding.