Double mastectomy to prevent cancer reduces risk of dying in BRCA1 mutation carriers
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Barcelona, Spain: Healthy women who carry a breast cancer-causing mutation in the BRCA1 gene, not only reduce their risk of developing the disease but also their chances of dying from it if they have both breasts removed, according to new research presented today (Wednesday) at the 11th European Breast Cancer Conference.

However, the study also found that for women with a mutation in the BRCA2 gene, there was no difference in their chances of dying from the disease whether they opted to have their breasts removed (bilateral risk-reducing mastectomy or BRRM) or chose to have closer surveillance instead.

The study of 1696 BRCA1 mutation carriers and 1139 BRCA2 mutation carriers in The Netherlands is the first to prospectively follow healthy women, who opted for either BRRM or surveillance, in order to compare their overall risk of dying from any cause and their risk of dying from breast cancer.

The women were selected from the national Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Netherlands (HEBON) database. They were healthy, with no previous history of cancer, and had retained both breasts and ovaries at the time of the DNA diagnosis that detected the BRCA1/2 gene mutations. The women were followed from the time

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