Researchers Identify Risk Factors for Contralateral Breast Cancer
A preventive procedure to remove the unaffected breast in breast cancer patients with disease in one breast may only be necessary in patients who have high-risk features, as assessed by examining the patient's medical history and pathology of the breast cancer.
According to researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, this finding, published in the journal Cancer, may help physicians predict the likelihood of patients developing breast cancer in the opposite breast (contralateral breast cancer), stratify risk, and counsel patients on their treatment options.
"Women often consider contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) not because of medical recommendation, but because they fear having their breast cancer return," said Kelly Hunt, M.D., professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology at M. D. Anderson and lead author on the study. "Currently it is very difficult to identify which patients are at enough risk to benefit from this aggressive and irreversible procedure. Our goal was to determine what characteristics defined these high-risk patients to better inform future decisions regarding CPM."