MIAMI BEACH – Despite significant improvements in detection and treatment of contralateral breast cancer, there’s a “huge increase” in the number of women choosing to undergo bilateral mastectomy, Dr. Ann Partridge of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston said.
Physicians can counsel patients that the risk of cancer recurrence in the body elsewhere is more of a concern than a new breast cancer, Dr. Partridge said, and provide a realistic picture of the side effects and potential complications of bilateral versus unilateral surgery. Conversations between physicians and patients regarding the pros and cons of more aggressive therapy are essential, she said in a video interview at the annual Miami Breast Cancer Conference, held by Physicians’ Education Resource.
Some ethical considerations arise when counseling younger women with a genetic mutation that raises the risk of breast cancer (for example, BRCA1 or BRCA2), especially when they plan to undergo in vitro fertilization and pre-implantation embryo analysis. Dr. Partridge shares advice on how to help these women make the best decision for them.
Many women diagnosed with breast cancer before age 40 wonder if it’s safe to have a baby, Dr. Partridge said. Ask about intentions to get pregnant at the first visit, she advised, and share data from retrospective outcome comparisons when guiding these women on their options.
Dr. Partridge had no relevant financial disclosures.