BRCA, or the “breast cancer gene,” has made headlines for women who present with this or other mutated genes that increase their risk of developing breast cancer. The lifetime risk of breast cancer in some BRCA patients is as high as 85%. Breast cancer continues to be the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women. Only lung cancer surpasses this grim statistic. According to recent statistics, approximately 1 in every eight women in the U. S. will develop breast cancer. This year, over 42,000 women will die from breast cancer as well. However, the good news is with better and more effective diagnostic tests and screening, more women diagnosed with breast cancer survive with the proper treatment.
Understanding BRCA or Breast Cancer Gene Mutation
It is important to note that every human has genes inherited from their parents. BRCA refers to two particular mutated genes. Research by many scientists suggests that BRCA1 and BRCA2 substantially increase breast cancer risks. Therefore, people who test positive for these two gene mutations should consider a preventative mastectomy.
To be clear, these breast cancer genes do not cause breast cancer. In fact, genes are one of the body’s best cancer-fighting mechanisms when they are normal. In some, these genes have developed a mutation that prevents the genes from suppressing cancer tumors, which thereby increases a woman’s risk of developing fast-growing cancerous tumors.
Women Who Test Positive for BRCA Gene Mutations Have Options
The mutation of BRCA genes stops the normal cancer-suppressing action that allows the gene to repair damaged DNA breaks. Women who test positive for these abnormal BRCA gene mutations often elect to undergo preventative surgery. A prophylactic mastectomy, or removal of the breast tissue, is an effort to prevent cancer from eventually developing in the breast.
Reasons to Consider Zenn Delay Breast Reconstruction
Dr. Zenn is a leading plastic surgeon in Raleigh, NC, known for his unparalleled experience with breast reconstruction surgeries. He has developed a unique breast reconstruction method for women diagnosed with BRCA who elect to undergo preventative breast removal. This preventive surgery takes place well before any signs of cancer are ever found.
It is imperative that women understand all of their options regarding breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy. Although Dr. Zenn does not treat breast cancer as a breast cancer surgeon, he is responsible for developing a revolutionary method of breast reconstruction known among plastic surgeons as the Zenn Delay. With this procedure, final reconstructive breast surgery can occur two weeks following a preventative mastectomy.
With more traditional breast reconstruction, final reconstruction is not accomplished for several months after the mastectomy. During this time, viable breast skin and nipple are preserved, and the wait was thought to maximize better blood supply to the transplanted tissue following breast removal. Uncomfortable and bulky tissue expanders are usually placed to stretch the breast tissue skin enough to support a breast implant. With the Zenn Delay, this is not the case.
Know Your Breast Reconstruction Surgical Options
Women in this situation are encouraged to talk with their breast surgeon, who will be doing the preventative breast removal, about the Zenn Delay reconstructive option before undergoing the mastectomy. This is because the breast surgeon must take steps to preserve the woman’s natural breast skin and nipple area, a nipple-sparing mastectomy, to get set the stage for the best final cosmetic result. Nipple-sparing mastectomy is the ideal type of mastectomy for BRCA patients. Since they do not actually have cancer, it’s perfectly safe to save all the breast skin and the nipple complex.
What’s Different About the Zenn Delay Method?
Dr. Zenn perfected a better method of ensuring a more natural, quicker breast reconstruction. This revolutionary procedure, Zenn Delay, only needs two weeks to attain the proper blood supply necessary for a successful final outcome! During the two weeks after mastectomy, the woman’s breast skin and nipple can heal. It is enough time for the breast skin and nipple to gain strength and a new blood supply. The best part is that no tissue expanders are necessary since there is plenty of natural breast skin, and it is already in the shape of a breast. The Zenn Delay method is applicable in most cases, even cases of previous surgery or radiation that might deter other plastic surgeons.
Get More Information by Scheduling a Consultation
Any woman who tests positive for BRCA mutated genes and is considering a preventative mastectomy should schedule a consultation with Dr. Zenn to discuss reconstruction options. Placement of the implant will not occur until two weeks following the breast removal mastectomy with the Zenn Delay. This delay of two weeks lowers the often high complication rate of the few surgeons who choose to do immediate implant placement, which Dr. Zenn never recommends. Also, this method is much quicker than the standard tissue expander-then implant placement route that takes many months to complete.
Since Dr. Zenn uses your breast skin and nipple, the Zenn Delay results appear beautiful and natural. Early detection of breast cancer saves lives. Women with genetic mutations or a strong family history of breast cancer should consider preventative surgery in consultation with a breast surgeon.