Rinat Yerushalmi MD, Shulamith Rizel MD, Dalia Zoref MD, Eran Sharon MD, Ram Eitan MD, Gad Sabah MD, Ahuva Grubstein MD, Yael Rafson MD, Maya Cohen MD, Ada Magen MD, Iehudit Birenboim MD, David Margel MD, Rachel Ozlavo BSc MBA, Aaron Sulkes MD, Baruch Brenner MD and Shlomit Perry PhD
Women who carry the BRCA gene mutation have an up to 80% chance of developing cancer, primarily of breast and ovarian origin. Confirmation of carrier status is described by many women as an overwhelming, life-changing event. Healthy individuals harboring a BRCA mutation constitute a high risk population with unique needs, often overlooked by health authorities. As such, we felt the need to create a specialized service dedicated specifically to this high risk population. The clinic staff comprises an experienced multidisciplinary team of health professionals who can support the medical and emotional needs of this population. Since its inception in 2001 the clinic has served 318 women. The mean age of patients is 46 years. With a median follow-up of 46 months, 21 women have developed malignancies, including 17 breast cancers, 1 ovarian cancer and 3 additional cancers. All but one of the patients above the age of 40 underwent bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO). The median and mean ages at BSO were 46.5 and 48 years, respectively (range 33–68). However, only 28.3% underwent bilateral preventive mastectomy. A multidisciplinary clinic for BRCA mutation carriers provides a “home” for this unique population with unmet needs. The high rate of BSO in women before natural menopause indicates that both the medical community and this population are aware of international guidelines supporting this procedure. We believe that a dedicated clinic, with a multidisciplinary team, is likely to contribute to the health, quality of life and survival of BRCA carriers.