Preventive medicine has been around for a long time. In most cases that takes the shape of being on medication for borderline cholesterol or blood pressure issues. In some cases where women have a better than average chance of having breast cancer, radical mastectomy is considered to be not just a cancer treatment, but preventive medicine.
Women who come from a family with a history of breast cancer, or who have the known breast and ovarian cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, there is a much higher than normal risk of them having breast cancer. For many women, knowing that breast cancer can kill, removing the breasts seems like a viable alternative to the uncertainty.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, but much deadlier than the most common, skin cancer.
Another preventive approach is through lifestyle changes. Everything from increased exercise to increased awareness concerning breast exams can be either preventive or help you in the effort to catch cancer in early stages where it is very treatable and curable.
From a life insurance standpoint, a preventive mastectomy would likely not lead to any different rates than the family history itself. If the procedure is due to genetics it would likely be treated the same as early stage breast cancer which would mean than standard or better rates should be available.
Bottom line. Tough decisions. A radical mastectomy is, well, radical and it is not a guarantee that you won’t get breast cancer. Even the smallest amount of breast tissue that is left can still get cancer. Just a tough decision.