Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie announced she has had both her breasts removed in February to reduce her high genetic risk of breast cancer. The surgery, called double mastectomy, brought down her risk from 87 per cent to about 5 per cent.
The announcement took her fans by surprise and has become headline news around the world, including Singapore. Fans are wondering if the preventive procedure was really necessary and how common is it.
In Singapore, preventive mastectomy is performed for rare patients who, like Angelina, carry specific mutated genes.
“Carriers of mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have more than a 50 per cent risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. When that mutation is detected, our recommendation would be to perform a preventive double mastectomy, usually when the woman is in her 30s,” says Dr Hong Ga Sze, Head and Senior Consultant, KK Breast Department, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).
“Before such a surgery is performed, a patient willRead More »from Why go through a preventive double mastectomy?