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Surgery is becoming more common to prevent cancer


POSTED: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 7:08pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 7:46am

Celebrity Angelina Jolie recently had a double mastectomy, a surgery removing the breasts.

This procedure and decision has a lot of people talking. If faced with the same choices, what would people they do?

KETK spoke to an oncologist and breast cancer survivor about Angelina Jolie's decision.

Actress, wife, and mother, 37 year-old Angelina Jolie shares her difficult decision of having a double mastectomy.

It was an inherited gene which gave Angelina Jolie a 87% risk of breast cancer and a 50% chance of ovarian cancer.

Reports say, Jolie had a mutated BRCA1 gene, it's a gene which raises the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

"BRCA1 and BRCA2 stands for breast cancer-1 and breast cancer-2, each of those associated with percentages of other cancers," says Dr. Sasha Vukelka, MD., Medical Onocologist.

Dr.V says, BRCA1 is most common and most of breast cancer is sporadic not genetic.

Experts say, more women are taking preventative measures, getting a mastectomy which is removing the breasts and some are removing their ovaries to prevent ovarian cancer or recurrence.

"I can tell you about 95 percent of patients who have had the genetic mutation they are so proactive, if they got diagnosed in one breast cancer, they want everything out," says Dr. Sasha Vukelka, MD., Medical Onocologist.

A breast cancer survivor, mother of three from Lindale had a double mastectomy. Stacey Kirkham says, she was thankful to have the option.

"It was just no brainer for me, I didn't want to have to go through breast cancer treatment ever again I wanted to continue to be a mother," says Stacey Kirkham.

Women find Jolie to be courageous.

"I think she did the right thing and I would do the same thing. And I already looked at this several years ago," says Rebecca Spears.

"I totally admire her, it is not a decision that you would not want to take lightly she wanted to continue to be mother, and I'm proud of her for making motherhood more important than Hollywood,"  says Stacey Kirkham.


How much Breast cancer is Hereditary?  5-10%

Risks in Men with BRCA Mutation:

7% of men by the age 80 will have breast cancer.

20% of men will have prostate cancer

Cancer risks are higher in Breast Cancer, Ovarian  Cancer and Prostate Cancer than in Pancreatic Cancer and Melanoma.

DR.V says, men have a high risk of breast cancer as women do. She suggests that women and men get cancer screenings if cancer runs in the family.

If breast cancer is hereditary:

Women should start a self-breast exam at the age 18.

Men should start a self breast exam beginning at age 35.

If you have a mutation then your children have 50%risk.

BRCA1 or 2 mutations may be passed in the family.

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