Women who have family history of breast cancer may be able to reduce that risk by having a breast reduction procedure. Known as a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, the surgery can prevent the development of cancer by up to 90%. This was found to be especially effective in women over age 50 who have completed menopause.
The procedure does not remove all breast tissue, as that can lead to serious postoperative swelling and complication. It also does not reduce the cancer risk to zero, as this is impossible.
Any woman who undergoes the surgery must continue with regular screening and observation, as she normally would. There have been cases where breast cancer developed later on, despite the removal of tissue.
Breast awareness is advocated by the American Cancer Society for all women in their 20s and 30s. It means daily breast self-examination and a thorough breast checkup by a doctor every three years. All women over the age of 40 should have an annual mammogram. It should be noted that a woman who has had a breast reduction will have some scar tissue that will make reading mammogram results more difficult.
While drastic, the surgery is a better alternative to cancer.