Sister offered prophylactic gland removal.

I am trying to find out some information for my sister. I was tested for the BRCA genes but the results came back as negative, although there is a strong family history. My sister has been yearly mammograms at a family history clinic. As our mother, aunt, myself and two cousins have/had breast cancer.

She went for her results today and they were fine, the doctor asked her if she would be interested in being put forward to a panel to see if Prophylactic gland removal could be offered to her.

She has said yes. The consultant explained that its not the same as a masctomy but removal of as many glands as possible, with implants added at the same time. It doesn’t offer total protection but lowers the risk of breast cancer.

We haven’t heard of this type of surgery before and cannot find anything about it and wondered if anyone here had heard of or had this type of preventive surgery?

I’m sure I must be misunderstanding this, but it really doesn’t make sense to me! B.c. would start in the breast, and then spread to the nodes-not vice versa! We actually want/need to have our nodes as they act like a trap to mop up as many cells escaping from the breast, and hopefully containing them before they reached organs-should this happen, the cancer then becomes terminal. I see no logic whatsoever in removing the nodes before a bc diagnosis-but as I said, perhaps I misunderstand what you’ve been told?

I think they mean mammary glands and not lymph nodes,because they are going to put an implant in at the same time.It might be some sort of partial mastectomy.It would be good to find out more.

Thanks for responding.

I’m a bit confused by it too, it not the lymph nodes but gland/ducts. Implants are inserted at the same time, but as we understand it at the moment, some of the breast tissue is conserved. There is no need for skin grafts as its conserves the breast skin.

I have a feeling its a fairly new type of surgery, the consultant brought in a what he called ‘top USA surgeon’ to speak to my sister to see if she met the critria. Their opinion then goes before a panel and discussed to see if she is suitable for this surgery. Which suggests to me its fairly new.

Obviously my sister will find out more when she goes back in a couple of months. The critria was family history, entering the menopause and the age she had her children, which was very young. That seemed to be it.

I have looked on the web but found very little.

It is rather interesting, we are rather surprised because she couldn’t get gene testing as mine came back as negative.

I will let you know when if I find out any more info on this.


I did find this information from a USA site but don’t know if its the same thing, sounds similar though.

For women who choose prophylactic mastectomy, several new and important surgical options have become available.

'It is now possible to remove breast tissue using skin-sparing techniques in which the underlying breast tissue is removed from just under the skin and down to the chest wall. This technique removes the vast majority of the glands where breast cancer may be more likely to develop. The nipple and surrounding tissue, called the areola, are also removed because the ducts converge toward the nipple, creating a concentrated area of duct tissue. However, the skin of the breast is spared, preserving the breast skin envelope.

When skin-sparing mastectomy is combined with immediate breast reconstruction, the results can be excellent. Women who choose prophylactic mastectomy, often combined with immediate reconstruction, are very pleased not only with their choice but also the reconstruction.

While surgery is not an approach that should be advocated for all high-risk individuals, it can be very important for appropriately selected women.’

I suppose we shall have to wait and see but I prefer gathering information before making choices, but there seems very little out there.

Paula x