Some women choose medication and other treatment options, while others—like René—choose to have a mastectomy, which has stirred up controversy in the medical community.
Dr. Savard says that some doctors don't recommend the elective surgery, because it's a risky procedure and there's no guarantee that every breast cell is removed. Other medical professionals are worried that women will feel pressure to make this decision when a mere 2 to 3 percent should have to consider it.
Over the years, Dr. Savard says words like "radical" and "mutilation" have also been used to describe the surgery, creating a stigma. "Doctors have made women feel like it's a kind of mutilating surgery, but the bottom line is we have plastic surgery for all sorts of things and nobody questions that," she says. "How could you really question a woman's decision to save her life?"