Risk-reducing surgical procedures are also wrongly referred to as “prophylactic surgery.” This second term should be avoided as it suggests the false idea that there is total cancer prevention. The surgical procedures are bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. These are strategies that can be used in patients at high risk for breast cancer, but their role is much better defined in women with deleterious mutations associated with breast cancer, especially BRCA-1 and BRCA-2. These procedures have high complexity and considerable risk of complications and should be reserved for exceptional situations and after careful evaluation of risks and benefits.
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