BRCA1 Breast Reconstruction Houston
BRCA1 is the name of a normal human gene which, when mutated in specific ways, will decrease the ability of cells to repair their DNA. The BRCA1 gene provides instructions for producing a specific protein that acts to suppress tumors.
When these tumor-suppressor proteins are not allowed to prevent cells from growing and dividing in an uncontrolled fashion, health issues result. Researchers have discovered more than 1,800 mutations in the BRCA1 gene; and these mutations, unfortunately, lead to a highly-increased risk for the development of breast and ovarian cancers. Generally speaking, the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer in an American woman is 12%. That figure dramatically increases to 80% if a woman possesses an active BRCA1 mutation. With that being said, not everyone who inherits a mutation in the BRCA1 gene will develop cancer.
Interestingly, everyone has BRCA1 (Breast Cancer One) as well as BRCA2 (Breast Cancer Two) genes. However, if a woman inherits, or develops, an active BRCA1 mutation, they are treated with close monitoring or with proactive preventative removal of both breasts, so called, bilateral prophylactic mastectomies. Also, the preventative removal of a woman’s ovaries is an option which decreases the risk for future breast and ovarian cancers. The percentage of breast cancers associated with hereditary genetic predispositions (abnormal genes passed from parent to child) is quite low – anywhere from 5% to 10%. However, most of those inherited cases of breast cancer are associated with an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. How breast cancer may develop directly due to environmental factors is not entirely known. The bottom line remains: most women who develop breast cancer do not inherit an abnormal breast-cancer gene, nor do they have any known family history of the disease.
If You Test Positive for an abnormal BRCA1 gene
If you have tested positive for the BRCA1 mutation, you are at a much-higher risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancers. Lowering any daunting risks includes the following:
Preventative or Prophylactic Mastectomy
Preventative or Prophylactic Mastectomy refers to the removal of both breasts; and this option offers encouragement since this procedure has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer – even in high-risk women – by a whopping 90%! Women receiving a preventative mastectomy will undergo one of two procedures:
With a Skin-Sparing Mastectomy (also known as a Simple Mastectomy, or Total Mastectomy), the nipple, the areola, and all of the breast tissue are removed. The breast skin envelope is spared, and remains. The extraction of the axillary (underarm) lymph nodes does not take place, and muscles remain intact.
With a Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy (also known as a Subcutaneous Mastectomy), the breast tissue is removed, but the nipple and areola, and all of the breast skin remains. This procedure is performed less frequently than the Skin-Sparing Mastectomy because is it technically more difficult to perform well, and there is a risk that the nipple and areola may not survive the Mastectomy procedure. However, if the Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy is done well, then Dr. Chevray can reconstruct the breasts so that they appear to have had a cosmetic augmentation or breast lift, and not a mastectomy. Dr. Chevray works with experienced and technically skilled breast surgeons who are capable of performing Nipple-Sparing Mastectomies, even in patients who have had previous breast surgery or previous breast radiation.
Preventative or Prophylactic Oophorectomy
Preventative or Prophylactic Oophorectomy involves the removal of both ovaries; and when performed prior to the onset of menopause, the likelihood of developing breast cancer as well as ovarian cancer can be minimized. The reason lies with the fact that the removal of ovaries before menopause negates the body’s primary source of estrogen.
Expected Side-Effects of Prophylactic Mastectomy
As with any surgery, there can be side-effects; and Dr. Chevray will cover this topic with you. Some risks or considerations include:
- loss of sensation in the breast
- inability to breast-feed
- infection or bleeding
- collection of body fluid at the surgical site
- delayed healing of the wound
- formation of thick scar tissue
- possible anxiety about body image
Contact Us Today
During a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Chevray, you will receive the insight you desire to make a comfortable, fully-informed decision. Dr. Chevray is an expert in the field of breast reconstruction; and his experience, skill, and bedside manner is unsurpassed. He will address any questions or concerns in a transparent and easy-to-understand manner, and replace apprehension with confidence and encouragement.