Saturday, May 18, 2013

Angelina Jolie and the mystery of her breast removal surgery

Since morning I was visited by two Ladies  in my OPD.Both of them had very vague complaints.After talking for a while both of them revealed that they were scared after reading the news that Angelina Jolie went for some kind of breast removal surgery for preventing breast cancer and they wished to know if they also needed the same. At times I wonder if information has eased our lives or complicated it many fold.
Anyways ,let me try to simplify what she did and who need it.In our body there are two genes BRCA1 and BRCA 2.The purpose of them is to suppress cancer.Any mutation in them makes a person prone to various types of cancers.In women the associated cancers are Breast cancer,ovarian cancer,Fallopian tube cancer and peritoneal cancer.
The ladies who should be tested for BRCA 1 and 2 mutations are as follows
  • Women with a personal history of both breast cancer and ovarian cancer
  • Women with ovarian cancer and a close relative—defined as mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, granddaughter, aunt—with ovarian cancer, premenopausal breast cancer, or both
  • Women of Ashkenazi Jewish decent with breast cancer who were diagnosed at age 40 or younger or who have ovarian cancer
  • Women with breast cancer at 50 or younger and who have a close relative with ovarian cancer or male breast cancer at any age
  • Women with a close relative with a known BRCA mutation

  • Now the question is what is the role of removing Breast,ovaries,fallopian tube and uterus.
    It has been found the in BRCA positive Ladies a prophylactic removal of breast can prevent up to 90 % of Breast cancers.Removal of Ovaries and fallopian tube also decreases the incidence of ovarian cancer.But removal of these organ doesn't mean an absolute peace of mind. There is still a 4 % chance of peritoneal cancer in these ladies despite removing the ovaries.

    To go for it or not?If you have a BRCA 1 or 2 mutation,have completed your family it can be a choice for you but yes it is not an easy decision to take.And remember 99 % of us don't have a BRCA gene mutation.

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