Genetic testing is commonplace for many inheritable cancer syndromes, and with that comes the knowledge of being a gene carrier for some patients.
Many guidelines recommend that gene carriers take certain steps, such as surgery, to reduce their risk of developing cancer.
A new BJS (British Journal of Surgery) review explores the quality-of-life consequences of genetic testing and risk-reducing surgery.
The review notes that risk-reducing surgery almost uniformly decreases cancer anxiety and affects patients’ quality of life, but it is irreversible and can be associated with short- and long-term side-effects.
“For some hereditary cancer syndromes, risk-reduction surgery increases life expectancy, decreases cancer anxiety, and is associated with improvements in quality of life; however, these procedures are irreversible and can be associated with marked early and late complications,” said senior author Dr. Todd Tuttle, of the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis.