At Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery, we often help Denver-area women who have recently undergone treatment for breast cancer. Treating breast cancer will sometimes require a mastectomy, which is a difficult experience for a woman to go through.
Breast reconstruction can represent an extraordinary step forward for women who have decided it is the right course of action for them. We have seen time and time again that a breast reconstruction can do much for a woman's self-esteem and self-confidence.
With recent developments in medical technology, breast reconstruction is no longer strictly a reactive procedure, only to be undergone after cancer and the resulting treatment. Through the use of BRCA gene screening, we can determine your risk factor for breast cancer and move decisively to prevent this deadly ailment from ever afflicting you at all.
What is the BRCA Gene?
While it's often simplistic to say that gene x controls behavior y, it is the case that specific genes are often tied to particular behaviors or elements of your biology. By examining these genes, we can gain crucial insight into important variables that affect your health and well-being.
Two of the most important genes to consider when evaluating a patient's cancer risk are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. These are essentially tumor-suppressing genes – they act to regulate tissue growth in the breast area, while also repairing damaged DNA or destroying cells if the DNA cannot be repaired.
Of course, that's how the genes work when they are operating at full efficiency. However, when the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have certain mutations, damaged DNA in the breast tissue is not repaired properly, and this increases your risk of breast cancer.
It is important to understand that this is not a marginal difference. For reference, a woman without a mutation in one of these genes has a 12% chance of contracting breast cancer. If a woman has a mutation in one of these genes, the breast cancer risk ranges from 43%-87%.
The good news is, with advances in modern technology, you do not have to be ignorant of these mutations. You can undergo a screening for mutations in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes through a simple test that involves swabbing your cheek.
If the results of these tests come back positive and you have a BRCA mutation that increases your risk of contracting breast cancer, you can then make an informed decision about your course of action. Many people first heard about the BRCA gene when Angelina Jolie wrote a New York Times op-ed discussing her decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy, followed by a breast reconstruction.
By removing breast tissue preemptively, women who choose this option greatly reduce their risk of contracting breast cancer. The breast reconstruction procedures offered at our office can provide you with a graceful, aesthetically pleasing restoration following preventative tissue removal to restore a full, symmetrical, and womanly appearance to the chest.
Of course, we understand that these are all difficult, important decisions. They can only be made after clear, direct conversations with your doctors. We will discuss your situation with sensitivity and understanding – that's our promise to all of our patients.
If you live in or around Denver, Colorado and you have questions about breast reconstruction, please call Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery today at 720-457-4471 for a consultation and examination.