Purpose Prophylactic mastectomy (PM) has proven to be the most effective method to reduce the risk of breast cancer in high-risk women. The present study aimed to present and compare the attitudes towards PM among physicians in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (UK). Patients and methods An international sample of 1196 general practitioners (GPs) and 927 breast surgeons (BS) were surveyed using a mailed questionnaire. Results Only 30% of the French and 27% of the German GPs were of opinion that PM should be an option for an unaffected female BRCA1/2 mutation carrier, as compared to 85% and 92% of the GPs in the Netherlands and UK, respectively. Similarly, 78% of the French and 66% of the German BS reported a positive attitude towards PM, as compared to 100% and 97% of the BS in the Netherlands and UK, respectively. In the whole sample of GPs, a positive attitude towards PM was associated with country of residence, being female, and having more knowledge of breast/ovarian cancer genetics, while among BS there was a positive association with country of residence and having more knowledge of breast/ovarian cancer genetics as well, and, in addition, with a higher number of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients last year. Conclusion These results demonstrated the international variations in the attitude towards PM among physicians. This might reflect that different policies are adopted to prevent breast cancer in women at-risk.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2013.04.025, hdl.handle.net/1765/64650
European Journal of Cancer
Department of Clinical Genetics

den Heijer, M, van Asperen, C.J, Harris, H, Nippert, I, Schmidtke, J, Bouhnik, A.D, … Tibben, A. (2013). International variation in physicians' attitudes towards prophylactic mastectomy - Comparison between France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. European Journal of Cancer, 49(13), 2798–2805. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2013.04.025