Women who have inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) genes have substantially elevated risks of developing breast and ovarian cancer. A study that will appear in the September 1 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that women with these inherited mutations who have had a prophylactic mastectomy or salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries) had an associated decreased risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Corresponding author Timothy R. Rebbeck, PhD, Leader, Center for Cancer Genetics, Epidemiology and Risk Reduction Program at the University of Pennsylvania and Susan Domchek, MD, associate professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center, and their colleagues conducted a study that looked at a large group of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers to determine reduction estimates following risk-reducing surgeries.
The results of the study reveal that the use of risk-reducing mastectomy was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer and risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy was associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer.
“What we want women to take away from the results of this study is that if they have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer they should talk to their family doctor about genetic testing to determine if they possess the genetic mutation. What this study tells us is that early detection and intervention can save lives,” says Domchek.
For more information about the study, see the JAMA press release and video interview with Dr. Domchek.
For more information about evaluating and dealing with your risk of breast or ovarian cancer, see the website for the Abramson Cancer Center's Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk Evaluation Program.
Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.9 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $496 million awarded in the 2020 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.
Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2020, Penn Medicine provided more than $563 million to benefit our community.