For the month of May the breaking Angelina Jolie breast cancer story was one of the most popular stories of the year. According to Jolie in an article published in the opinion section of Tuesday’s New York Times, she underwent a preventative double mastectomy after being that her chance of developing breast cancer was 87% combined with a 50% risk of ovarian cancer was an important one made after watching her mother’s long fight against cancer. Her mother died in 2007 at the age of 56. Jolie claims that it was her hope that other woman would find encouragement from her story. Jolie said “I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer,” Jolie said in the Times article. “It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.” Jolie explained that she carries the BRCA1 cancer gene that is believed to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Jolie explained that after her double mastectomy she elected for reconstructive surgery which took three months to complete. Although there have been other famous celebrities who also reported carrying the BRCA1 gene, Jolie is undoubtedly one of the most famous. This story proposes many topics for conversation. At the very least it allows the dialogue between women and their physicians to determine if genetic testing for breast cancer is right for them.
Dr. Seify continues to work in the forefront of breast cancer reconstruction research and the available options for women. Undoubtedly, as women become more aware of the option to choose elective mastectomy there will be an increase in patients choosing breast reconstruction following their surgery. Dr. Seify encourages patients to consider breast reconstruction options at the onset of their diagnosis for breast cancer. In the case of an elective double mastectomy it is critical that patients consider the breast reconstruction options available to them prior to making the decision to proceed with surgery. Dr. Seify is experienced in many different methods of breast reconstruction including both traditional methods including tram flap and more innovative techniques using fat transfer and stem cells. Every patient is different and insurance companies vary greatly, so patients should consult with Dr. Seify to see if in fact there insurance will cover breast reconstruction following an elective mastectomy. Patients are encouraged to contact Dr. Seify and schedule a medical consultation.