Expert Discusses Surgical Implications of a BRCA Mutation

William J Gradishar, M.D.

William J. Gradishar, M.D., chief of hematology and oncology in the Department of Medicine and Betsy Bramsen Professor of Breast Oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, discusses the potential surgical implications for a woman with breast cancer who tests positive for a BRCA mutation, and why it is important to be aware of this genetic information.

Women with BRCA mutations have a higher chance of both breast and ovarian cancer. So, women may want to consider a bilateral mastectomy, even if the breast cancer only occurs on one side, to prevent a recurrence. Surgical removal of the ovaries may also be considered, to drastically decrease the chance of developing ovarian cancer.
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