No one should face hereditary cancer alone.

Thinking about cancer or dealing with cancer risk can be scary or overwhelming, but we believe that receiving information and resources is comforting, empowering, and lifesaving.

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Learn about the steps that people at high risk for cancer can take to manage their risk and protect their health.

Risk-reducing mastectomy

Study data show risk-reducing mastectomy is effective, reducing the chance of developing breast cancer by as much as 95% in high-risk women. A 1998 study of 639 women at high or moderate risk for breast cancer found prophylactic mastectomy reduced their risk by 90%, compared to their sisters who did not undergo the procedure. (The study did not look specifically at women with mutations in BRCA or other geness associated with cancer risk; the surgeries were done prior to the availability of genetic testing.) Seven participants developed breast cancer after prophylactic mastectomy. A later study which included genetic testing on the same 639 women determined a similar risk reduction from risk-reducing surgery in the 18 mutation carriers identified. These studies were limited—they were retrospective, meaning researchers looked at past records from women who had undergone this procedure.

In a more recent study when researchers followed BRCA carriers for 6 years after bilateral mastectomies, researchers discovered mastectomy surgery alone lowered the risk for breast cancer by about 90%. Risk reducing surgery in women who had both bilateral mastectomies and oophorectomies (removal of the ovaries) reduced risk by 95%.

Updated 12/29/2016

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered