Valley oncologist opts for double mastectomy to avoid family history of cancer

May 24, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: May 27, 2022, 8:44 am

Marnee Spierer (Cancer Treatment Centers of America Photo)...

Marnee Spierer (Cancer Treatment Centers of America Photo)

(Cancer Treatment Centers of America Photo)

PHOENIX — May is National Women’s Health Month and one Valley oncologist opted for a double mastectomy as a way to minimize her risk of breast cancer and take control of her health.

Professionally, Dr. Marnee Spierer has been an oncologist, mainly focusing on women’s cancers, for more than 20 years. Personally, she’s known her family’s risk of cancer for most of her life.

Spierer is the chief of staff, specializing in radiation oncology, at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Phoenix.

She lost a maternal aunt to breast cancer and her maternal grandmother to a women’s cancer. This knowledge of a looming risk was concerning.

Spierer met with a genetic counselor to learn her risks. She, her mother and her sister all tested negative for the breast cancer gene.

“But what I really wanted to know [was] my actual risk, according to all the models given my family history, that was kind of screaming for something,” Spierer said.

“There [are] so many things that go into the risk of developing cancer, it’s not as black and white as being a gene carrier or not.”

Despite being generally healthy and active, Spierer found her risk of cancer was abnormally high.

That risk turned to fear for Spierer when her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.

“An ordinary breast cancer patient then became the third generation of women to be diagnosed with a female cancer [in my family],” Spierer said.

That’s when she decided to really learn what her options were when it came to combating her risk.

“I knew that for me, the treatment option I wanted to pursue was having the risk reduction surgery, which means have my breasts taken off… I don’t like to say preventatively because it doesn’t prevent breast cancer, it markedly reduces my risk,” Spierer said.

Spierer said after speaking with her sister as she was undergoing chemotherapy for her breast cancer and speaking with her husband, she decided on a double mastectomy as her course of action.

While Spierer knows that this is not the best choice for everyone, she emphasized that the most important thing anyone can do when it comes to their health is to know their risk and find the best treatment for them.

“I am not advocating for women to remove their breasts, I’m advocating for all women to know their risks,” she said. “And once you know your risks, having a relationship with your primary medical doctor or some healthcare provider who helps you navigate your treatment options once you know your risks.”

To learn more about your risk and option, or more about Spierer, visit the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Phoenix website.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

caution tape...

Woman charged with murdering her husband in west Valley home

A woman is behind bars for allegedly murdering her husband in their west Valley home, according to police.

31 minutes ago

(Twitter Photo)...

Police investigating deadly shooting near ASU West campus

Police are investigating an incident in Glendale that left one man dead and another man hospitalized on Friday night.

3 hours ago

Leslie Kerekes...

Silver Alert issued for 64-year-old woman with dementia canceled

A Silver Alert was issued for a 64-year-old woman with dementia last seen on Friday, authorities said.

4 hours ago

Dutch Bros....

Damon Allred

Diversified Partners to break ground on The Shops in Glendale

The Shops, which will include a new Dutch Bros., is set to break ground on its Glendale development on Monday morning.

5 hours ago

Photo of the new Fazoli's scheduled to open in Mesa, Arizona....

Kevin Stone

Fazoli’s set to open first street-side location since returning to Phoenix market

Italian fast-casual restaurant Fazoli's is set to debut its first street-side location since returning to the metro Phoenix market.

6 hours ago

A conceptual rendering of Swags — a multi-story steakhouse that's being proposed in Old Town Scot...

Ron Davis/Phoenix Business Journal

Scottsdale pumps brakes on high-end Swags steakhouse in Old Town

The fate of a proposed high-end steakhouse in Scottsdale's entertainment district won't be decided for at least another month.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.


Dierdre Woodruff

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Desert Institute for Spine Care (DISC) wants to help Valley residents address back, neck issues through awake spine surgery

As the weather begins to change, those with back issues can no longer rely on the dry heat to aid their backs. That's where DISC comes in.

Valley oncologist opts for double mastectomy to avoid family history of cancer