In recent years, more patients are choosing to undergo mastectomy, Dr. Brackett says, following actress Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo a preventive double-mastectomy in 2013 due to her genetic predisposition to the disease.
However, he says only about 10 percent of cancers are associated with inherited risk. For other patients, research has shown that lumpectomies and mastectomies are equally effective in treating early-stage breast cancer.
Having treated approximately 3,500 patients with breast cancer during his career, Dr. Brackett says he is impressed with the strength of his patients in responding to the diagnosis and treatment choices they need to make.
“A lot of times they say, ‘OK. I just need to get through this so I can take care of my family and get on with my life,’” he says. “In the face of such a challenging situation, people are able to find remarkable strength.”