Doctors support prophylactic surgery for women with BRCA

Doctors do not support universal testing for BRCA gene mutations

Sermo, the leading global social network for doctors, surveyed members about their feelings regarding breast cancer and found that 72 percent of doctors think that women with BRCA mutations should have prophylactic surgery. Forty-six percent of those surveyed believed these patients should have surgery to remove their breasts (mastectomy) and their ovaries (oophorectomy) and 26 percent said just mastectomies would suffice.

Despite believing that those with BRCA gene mutations should undergo preventive surgery, 68 percent of the doctors did not think testing for BRCA gene mutations should be conducted for women without a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

“This survey reflects the opinions of doctors from a wide variety of specialties and it is a positive sign that most doctors are aware of the increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers associated with BRCA gene mutations,” said Dr. Laura Allen, an oncologist from North Carolina. “Although it is clear that interventions should be made when a patient has a genetic mutation that predisposes them to breast cancer, the cost of universal testing for BRCA mutations far outweighs the benefit.”

The Sermosays survey also examined doctors’ perspectives on what patients who have unilateral breast cancer should do about their other breast. More than half of the doctors (68%) were against a woman having their healthy breast removed.

When it comes to screening for breast cancer, respondents were split on the American Cancer Society’s new recommendations that women should start getting mammograms at age 45 instead of 40 as previously recommended.

One doctor said the age for screening should be dependent on risk factors; “Each woman should discuss risk with physician and tailor screening accordingly.”

Another said, “Many, many cancers appear in younger women and are detected by mammogram. We should be screening MORE women not fewer. This is life or death, not dollars per person.”

And, a third doctor said, “There are plenty of cancers in the 40-49 age group and the added radiation dose is worth the benefit of added screening.”

About Sermo

Sermo is the leading social network for physicians – the virtual doctors’ lounge and the home of medical crowdsourcing – where doctors anonymously share their true feelings about their profession and lives and talk ‘real world’ medicine. Sermo has nearly 470,000 fully verified and licensed members and is now available for doctors in nine countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the US. Founded in the US in 2005, Sermo’s mission is to revolutionize real world medicine and to unite physicians, providing them with a safe, private and trusted platform for free and open discussions. Sermo harnesses the collective wisdom of doctors, enabling medical crowdsourcing, knowledge sharing and thus the advancement of medicine.

Learn more at

Media Contacts:
Randi Kahn, Public Relations Manager, Sermo; +1.212.358.0800 x967

Osnat Benshoshan, SVP, Marketing & Strategy, Sermo;