Risk-reduction surgery decisions in high-risk women seen for genetic counseling

Jessica A. Ray, Lois J. Loescher, Molly Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Women at greatest risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer may consider prophylactic removal of breasts or ovaries as a risk-reduction measure. This report describes uptake of risk-reduction mastectomy (RRM), risk-reduction oophorectomy (RRO), and related factors in 62 high-risk women who received genetic counseling. Seven (11%) participants underwent RRM and 13 (21%) underwent RRO. Of these women, 37% did not have BRCA testing, suggesting other factors influence decisions to undergo surgery. Women who had indicated (pre-genetic counseling) their intent not to have surgery chose not to have surgery. Information received during genetic counseling that women perceived as being most important for influencing risk-reduction surgery decisions was BRCA test result (positive or negative), followed by discussion of family cancer history. Reasons for indecision about risk-reduction surgery included genetic testing results, concerns about surgery, timing in life, and early menopause. The findings enhance our understanding of information that is helpful to women considering this surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-484
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision-making
  • Genetic counseling
  • Genetic testing
  • Hereditary breast/ovarian cancer
  • Precaution adoption process
  • Prophylactic mastectomy
  • Prophylactic oophorectomy
  • Risk-reduction surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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