Breast Cancer

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What Are the Options if You Have a High Risk of Developing Breast Cancer?

Dr. Freya Schnabel NYU Langone Medical Center

Specific mutations in BRCA genes lead to an increased risk of developing breast cancer. People who have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer may want to consider being tested for mutations, particularly if the relative was diagnosed with cancer before age 50. If you’ve been diagnosed with a BRCA mutation, there are still steps you can take to lower your risk of developing a cancer.

“When I meet with women who are at an increased risk for breast cancer because of BRCA mutations, I like to talk about the three options that they have for managing their risk,” says Dr. Freya Schnabel, Director of Breast Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. Those options are:

  1. Intensive surveillance: This means keeping an eye on your health, in an attempt to catch disease early if it does present itself.
  2. Medication: There are certain drugs available to lower the risk of developing breast cancer. But as with any medical treatment, risks and benefits must be considered.
  3. Surgery: This is the option that will lower a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer as much as possible. It involves removing as much breast tissue as possible, while attempting to preserve the nipple area, should a woman opt for reconstruction.

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Dr. Freya Schnabel is the Director of Breast Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. Read More