Preventive Mastectomies Provide Little Survival Benefit for Ovarian Cancer Patients, Study Finds

Preventive Mastectomies Provide Little Survival Benefit for Ovarian Cancer Patients, Study Finds
Mastectomies and the removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes are considered preventive measures for women carrying BRCA genetic mutations linked to breast and ovarian cancer. But for women who have already had ovarian cancer, a risk-reducing mastectomy is not cost-effective and provides few survival benefits, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center. Current guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) recommend that all women with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer be considered for genetic testing. That’s because 10-20% of women with ovarian cancer carry BRCA gene mutations irrespective of family history, researchers said. “There is no right or wrong answer on how to manage breast cancer risk in this unique population,” senior author of the study Rachel Greenup, MD, assistant professor of surgery at Duke University, said in a news release. “However, we hope that our findings provide guidance to women and their doctors deciding if and when prophylactic mastectomy is beneficial following ovarian cancer treatment.” In the study titled, “Cost Effectiveness of Risk-Reducing Mastectomy versus Surveillance in BRCA Mutation Carriers with a History of Ovarian Cancer,” published in the journal Annals of Surgical Oncology, researchers evaluated the survival benefit and cost-effectiveness of preventive mastectomy compared with regular breast cancer screening (mammograms and MRI assessment) upon ovarian cancer diagnosis. Overall, the team found that the benefit provided by risk-reducing mastectomy compared to screening was dependent on the age at which cancer was diagnosed and the time it took to perform a mastectomy. The study found that for most women with BRCA gene
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