Quality-of-life implications of risk-reducing cancer surgery

A. M. Altman, J. Y.C. Hui, T. M. Tuttle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Modern advances in genetic sequencing techniques have allowed for increased availability of genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes. Consequently, more people are being identified as mutation carriers and becoming aware of their increased risk of malignancy. Testing is commonplace for many inheritable cancer syndromes, and with that comes the knowledge of being a gene carrier for some patients. With increased risk of malignancy, many guidelines recommend that gene carriers partake in risk reduction strategies, including risk-reducing surgery for some syndromes. This review explores the quality-of-life consequences of genetic testing and risk-reducing surgery. Methods: A narrative review of PubMed/MEDLINE was performed, focusing on the health-related quality-of-life implications of surgery for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary diffuse gastric cancer. Results: Risk-reducing surgery almost uniformly decreases cancer anxiety and affects patients' quality of life. Conclusion: Although the overwhelming quality-of-life implications of surgery are neutral to positive, risk-reducing surgery is irreversible and can be associated with short- and long-term side-effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e121-e130
JournalBritish Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2018

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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