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Few in Singapore opt to remove both breasts, ovaries

Published on May 15, 2013 7:52 AM
 

FEW women in Singapore will have both their breasts and ovaries removed - even when they know they have an extremely high risk of getting cancer, doctors here say.

However, a handful do take that radical step.

Dr Lee Soo Chin, a senior cancer specialist at the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore, said doctors would routinely suggest that patients with the BRCA gene mutation have their breasts and ovaries removed.

About one in 3,000 to 5,000 men and women have the BRCA mutation. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes suppress tumours but a mutation prevents them from doing their job.

 
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Background story

CUTTING THE RISK

In our experience, approximately 20 to 30 per cent of these high-risk individuals accept the recommendations. Patients tend to be more willing to undergo removal of ovaries than mastectomy.

- Dr Lee Soo Chin, senior cancer specialist at the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore