Genetic counseling impacts decision for prophylactic surgery for patients perceived to be at high risk for breast cancer. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study addresses the impact a comprehensive genetic counseling program had on women considering prophylactic mastectomy or oophorectomy.Sixty patients underwent detailed family evaluation and risk was estimated. Recommendations were made regarding testing. Ramifications of testing were discussed in detail.Thirty-one women (37%) were considering prophylactic surgery believing themselves to be at high risk. Of these, 23 had testing recommended. Seven patients proceeded with prophylactic surgery based solely on high-risk assessment. Ten women were tested; five were positive. Three patients proceeded with prophylactic surgery despite a negative test. One decided against surgery despite a positive test. After counseling, prophylactic surgery was performed in just over half the initial candidates.Breast cancer risk estimation and genetic evaluation can be complex. Comprehensive genetic risk assessment programs can play a significant role in the management of patients considering prophylactic surgery for perceived high risk.

publication date

  • May 2001