No Quick or Easy Choices

May 21, 2013

In continuing coverage spurred by actress Angelina Jolie's disclosure that she underwent a prophylactic mastectomy to reduce her risk of cancer after learning she carries the BRCA1 mutation, Susan Domchek, MD, executive director of the Basser Research Center for BRCA, is quoted in a New York Times article exploring the decisions women must face after learning they are at increased risk. The many treatment options and the persistent uncertainties about which is appropriate to an individual patient mean that decisions about preventive mastectomy, the Times writes, have not grown easier, only harder. Many physicians are concerned that women, especially those traumatized by loss of a family member to cancer, may make hasty choices. “We have had a rush of phone calls coming in with this idea, ‘Should I be getting my mastectomy?’" Domchek said. “But every surgical procedure comes with potential complications, and we need to attempt to balance the risk and benefit."

New York Times article