Jolie’s surgeon recommends “Breast Team”
Angelina Jolie's bombshell announcement in the spring of 2013 that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy garnered praise as well as sparking a debate over genetic testing.
In October, the plastic surgeon who performed the star's breast reconstruction spoke out about the impact of Jolie's case, and called for a team approach to breast-cancer treatment, with plastic surgeons involved from the time a woman is diagnosed with cancer and is considering her treatment options. Dr. Jay Orringer, who practices at The Renaissance Medical Center for Aesthetic Surgery Inc. in Beverly Hills, Calif., spoke about the team approach, or “the breast team,” at a doctors' meeting in Hollywood, Fla. The recommended team would include the general surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist and gynecologist, Orringer said. Also, psychotherapists, support groups and physical therapists may be important.
Generally, there are two approaches to treating breast cancer. In breast-conserving surgery, the tumor is removed, and radiation Angelina Jolie’s bombshell announcement in the spring of 2013 that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy garnered praise as well as sparking a debate over genetic testing.
Women at high risk for breast cancer may choose to undergo “active surveillance” and get tested regularly.
therapy is applied to the breast. The second method involves removing the breast altogether, which is called a mastectomy.
Orringer was part of a team of physicians who cared for Jolie when she had a prophylactic mastectomy to prevent breast cancer. Jolie carries a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, which significantly increased her risk of developing breast cancer, she wrote in the New York Times in May.
About 12 percent of women in the general population will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives. But the risk for women like Jolie, who carry a mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, is much higher.
Women at high risk for breast cancer may choose to undergo “active surveillance” and get tested regularly. Another option is to remove both breasts, a procedure called a prophylactic double mastectomy, which can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by approximately 90 percent.
Newer surgical techniques, including skin and nipple preservation and scars that resemble cosmetic approaches, are improving aesthetic outcomes.
“The idea of a scar that goes across the chest is increasingly becoming a scar of the past,” Orringer said.
“A woman is the captain of her own health care team, and the doctors involved should be co-captains with her, working with her to help achieve the best outcomes,” Orringer said.