June 15, 2005 at 2:14 PM CDT - Updated July 10 at 10:25 PM
Breast Removal Study By: Wendy Ray
SIKESTON, MO --A lot of women do monthly check ups and yearly mammograms to protect themselves from breast cancer, but
new study finds some women would take a much more drastic approach.
One in five women say they would consider removing their breasts to prevent cancer, if they're at risk for the disease. A Sikeston surgeon spoke with us Tuesday about this drastic approach.
It may sound drastic to some, having a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer, but a survey of more than 1,500 women around the world found one in five women would consider it, if it would reduce their risk of the disease. Missouri Delta Medical Center surgeon Mark Reintjes says, "If all the breast tissue is removed by surgery and there's no preexisting breast cancer it would eliminate the cause of breast cancer." Reintjes says even though such a measure can reduce the risk of breast cancer to near zero, this only applies to women in the high risk group. "They're mainly talking about women with a strong family history or genetic tumor marker they can pass onto their children. "It's not typically a recommendation for most breast cancers which are sporadic breast cancers and they're not ones with a family history," Dr. Reintjes says. He adds ultimately, it's a personal decision. "You can look at it as a small number or a high number. Only one in five chose that, different women will respond differently."
Dr. Reintjes advises women if you smoke, stop. Exercise regularly and eat more fruits and vegetables. Doing those three things will help you stay healthy and ward off heart disease and lung cancers, the number one and two causes of death for men and women.