Risk Reducing Surgeries For Breast Cancer Are On The Rise


POSTED: Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 8:30am

UPDATED: Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 8:35am

BROWNSVILLE - More and more women are deciding to undergo risk reducing surgeries, also known as prophalactic procudures to prevent them from developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Vicki Saenz is a local Valley resident and cancer survivor.  After Vicki Saenz found she had cancer in one of her breasts, the doctors at Texas Oncology propted her to get tested for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 to see if the other breast was prone to getting cancer in the future.

Dr. Sharma at Texas Oncology says, "The BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 is a fairly recent phenomenon and it was just approved a few years ago. We weren't doing BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 testing because the technology wasn't perfect."

But now Dr. Sharma says the technology has much improved and is offered as standard care to patients.

After taking the test, Saenz tested positive for BRCA 2 in other breast.  Saenz then chose to undergo a preventative mastectomy.

"Having both breasts removed is a little radical, you just wake up from surgery and they're gone, and that's a very tough thing for a woman to deal with."

Even though it was a tough thing to do, Saenz says she had a lot of support from groups and loved ones to go through the with surgery.

"It helped me to decide what to do, and it also helped me to get through it because I knew that there was light at the other end of the tunnel.  Iknew that it would be okay."

During the surgery, doctors were able to extract the cancer and also prevent future cancer in the other breast.
Like Saenz, Dr. Sharma, says it's suggested that women should be tested for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes. 

Dr. Sharma says you should get tested especially if you have had a previous history of breast cancer, a family history of breast cancer before the age of fifty (especially in mothers, sisters and daughters), or test positive for the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene.

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