When to have risk-reducing breast surgery
Breast cancers in women who carry breast cancer gene changes/mutations usually occur at a younger age. So, the younger you are when you have risk-reducing surgery, the more likely it is to prevent breast cancer.
However, this is a very individual decision and the potential benefit of risk-reducing surgery must be balanced with other issues such as:
Your age and risk – your genetic counsellor or breast surgeon can advise you about how the risk level changes with age. They can give you an estimate of your chance of developing breast cancer over the next five years as well as your risk of developing breast cancer over your lifetime.
How anxious you feel about the possibility of getting breast cancer and the impact it would have on your life.
Your plans for having children and breastfeeding (breastfeeding may reduce your risk of breast cancer).
I weighed up all the pros and cons and looked at every option that was available to me. I went ahead with the preventative double mastectomy when I was 24.
It’s important to bear in mind that the fitter you are, the less likely it is that there will be complications following surgery. Some types of reconstruction won’t be recommended if you have certain medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or if you are a smoker, and this may affect your options.
When to have this type of surgery is a very personal choice. Discussing the above points with your breast surgeon and clinical nurse specialist can help you make your decision.