A British man with the BRCA 2 gene had his prostate removed just in case.
Let’s back up. Last week, Angelina Jolie penned a bold op-ed confessing that she had undergone a preventative double mastectomy after she discovered that she carried the BRCA 1 gene, which increased her chances of eventually developing breast cancer to 87 percent.
Now, a British businessman has made medical history by having his healthy prostate removed after he tested positive for the BRCA 2 gene, which (if I can be incredibly reductive) is basically the boy version of the BRCA 1, increasing the risk of developing prostate cancer.
The 53-year-old man was not identified, so we’re going to call him “Mangelina Jolie” for the purposes of this article.
Mangelina Jolie had family members who had suffered from breast or prostate cancer, so he decided to get screened in a trial at the Institute of Cancer Research. He found out that he had the BRCA 2 gene, and decided to have his prostate removed.
Surgeons normally wouldn’t remove a healthy prostate, because it leaves a man infertile and can result in incontinence. Mangelina Jolie insisted, and further tissue tests found that there were indeed malignant changes to his otherwise healthy prostate, albeit on a microscopic level.
So they went ahead with it.
Surgeon Roger Kirby said that the presence of the BRCA 2 gene alone justified removing the prostate in Mangelina Jolie’s case.
“The relatively low level of cancerous cells we found in this man’s prostate before the operation would these days not normally prompt immediate surgery to remove the gland, but given what we do know about the nature of BRCA2, it was definitely the right thing to do for this patient,” Kirby said.
He also added that Mangelina Jolie is “absolutely fine,” adding: “I am sure more male BRCA carriers will now follow suit.”
The ICR trial showed that men who carry the BRCA 2 gene have an 8.6 times higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those who don’t have it.
Do you think that more men with the BRCA 2 gene will have their prostate removed? Even if it’s mostly healthy? Sound off!
[Image via: Lisa F. Young / Shutterstock]