The news that 24-year-old Allyn Rose, Miss District of Columbia in this year's Miss America competition, is planning to have both of her breasts removed in the near future is the latest case of what we might call "extreme breast cancer prevention."
Women with breast cancer should be helped to clearly understand what can and cannot be achieved by prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and the potentially significant risks of the procedure. Doctors, in turn, should accept that a reduction in fear is a worthwhile goal in cancer treatment.
In the last decades we have made much progress toward identifying and characterizing the pathways that lead to cancer development, but we also know that we have only just skimmed the surface of potential targeted therapy.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that nearly one in four women who have a lumpectomy to treat their breast cancer require another surgery to remove additional tissue.