Houston's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Houston, Texas | KHOU.com

Choices for treating breast cancer a deeply personal decision

The decision to undergo a mastectomy is deeply personal for each patient.

HOUSTON — One in eight women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

It is the most common type of cancer among women.

Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and radiation.

In this weeks “Wear the Gown” – our series with UT Physicians – we take a closer look at mastectomies, the surgical removal of the whole breast.

According to research, published in JAMA surgery in 2017, approximately 17 percent of women with early-stage breast cancer undergo this type of surgery.

Mary Gibbens is one of those women.

After she was diagnosed with Stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common form of breast cancer, she decided to get a double mastectomy.

“I didn’t want to come back in three or four years with cancer in my other breast,” says Gibbens.

Her surgery was performed by Dr. Tamara Saunders, who says the decision to undergo a mastectomy is deeply personal for each patient.

In some cases, the surgery is done for prophylactically, especially if a patient has an extensive family history of cancer, or if genetic testing indicates she has the BRCA 1 gene, known to dramatically increase a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer.

“It’s a very long discussion about what’s going to make her comfortable,” says Dr. Saunders. “What’s going to help her sleep at night.”

Send us a news tip | Download our app#HTownRush Newsletter