Oh Kat, that is such a personal decision I don't know that any of us can put ourselves in your body.
There was an interview on the today show last week with two women in their 20's who tested positive and one had already had a double mastectomy and the other was getting ready for one.
The one still waiting, said that the anxiety of worrying about cancer was a greater threat to her health than having the surgery.
I didn't realize the positive genetic test increased the odds that much. That number is staggering.
Good luck with your decision - ultimately you are the one who has to live with the choice. May you be guided to make the one that's best for you.
You have such a high likelihood of developing breast cancer that I can't help but agreeing with your decision. Living a "full life" free of cancer is a true gift. Having to wonder everyday if there is cancer developing in your body is ( I can't even find the words to describe) a scary path.
Nobody can know if you will ever develop cancer.
Have you been able to find anyone to speak with that has decided to have a preventive mastectomy? I think that would be something I might pursue to find out how other women have come to a decision about this extremely difficult decision. My prayers are with you.
Blessings and hugs
LuLu was spot on in terms of this being a very personal decision. I doubt that any two people would approach it in in exactly the same way, because it is so complicated and combines medical knowledge, risk taking, views on mortality, relationships, self image and very complex emotions.
I asked myself how I would approach this situation.
First, I would want to know exactly what type of breast and ovarian cancer my mother had and the overall survival rates associated with each of them. There have been such tremendous strides made in treating breast cancer that many survivors now view it as a chronic illness. With regular 6 month screenings, I would be less worried about breast cancer than ovarian cancer, which often does not give symptoms until there has been considerable progression. Still ovarian cancer, like breast cancer is highly treatable. I'd be peppering the doctors with questions about the risk of ovarian cancer.
My father's side of the family has a significant hx of breast, ovarian and colon cancer. My aunt was dx'd with ovarian cancer over 10 years ago while in her 70's. At first she was not going to go through treatment, but then decided to go forward with it. She's had 4 (?) rounds of treatment/recurrences yet is still alive and in her 80's. For her, it is a chronic illness. Her mother died at the age of 42 from breast cancer in 1944, when there was not much that could be done.
How would I feel after a double mastectomy? How would this affect my relationship with my husband and will he support whatever decision I make? What are the surgical risks and recovery? If I carry the gene and have the mastectomy, is there any risk that this type of cancer might show up in other tissue and what tests are there to detect this? I guess this last question can be summed up as "Can we really fool mother nature?"
If in fact the mastectomy can eliminate the risk of breast cancer, how will I deal with the possibility of ovarian cancer? Should I have my ovaries removed too?
One thing that would definitely temper my decision is the fact that I have seen too many peers die suddenly from accidental deaths or health conditions that had not been diagnosed. What if I went through all of this surgery, only to be hit by a bus on the way home from the hospital?
I bring that up because my brother was killed in a vehicular accident in 1998. At the time, my sister's future MIL was getting ready for stem cell treatment for inflammatory breast cancer. Sister had a huge time reconciling the two. MIL is still alive, more than 15 years later from time of initial diagnosis and brother was snatched in an instant, without warning.
His sudden death has changed me and I am now very aware how precious life is and how one can be here today and gone tomorrow.
As lydia231 said, nobody can know if you will ever develop cancer. While your risk level may be higher, that does not mean you are assured of developing these cancers.
Interesting post and very thought provoking. I wish you clarity in your decision making process, support from others in terms of whatever you decide and peace of mind in your ultimate decision.
"Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present."
Well I already had a complete hysterectomy when I was 26 due to endo and adhesions so i wont ave to worry about the ovarian cancer. I have spoken to someone a little younger than me that has had both surgeries done due to being BRCA positive. She said It was the best decision she has ever made. They cant remove all breast tissue 100% but after the masectomy the chance of getting cancer falls back to the normal population risk pool. the reconstruction would be immediatly after because if you decide to wait the insurance wont pay for it they will consider it plastic surgery anyways they remove the whole breast and nipples and you have inplants put in and there will be no nipple. my husband is supportive he even joked if they could make them bigger hmm typical male. I still have some thinking to do and my husband said I should wait till I get these health problems under control and a diagnosis before I take on a major surgery like this. so until then I will get the boobs squashed and just take one day at a time
For me personally this is something I have struggled with. My mother had 2 primary breast cancers, 15 years apart. Her mother and aunt (sisters) both died of ovarian cancer in their 40s.
My mother, prior to getting either breast cancer, had a total hysterectomy and they found precancerous cells in the ovaries. She was ultimately taken from us by a very agressive brain cancer. I have not had the genetic testing.
I have had the hysterectomy and when I closer to my 40s will start considering the mastectomies.
Do what you have to do for peace of mind!!!!
I think you're making a wise decision. It's so good that your husband backs you up. If the surgery can wait till after you've dealt with the immediate problems, all the better.
Sending best wishes to you. Please keep us posted on what's happening.
There's an Australian singer here who recently (just this week) said she has breast cancer AND MS. She's had the MS for a while, but I only became aware of while reading the article.
Anyway she said due to the MS she cannot have radiotherapy. So that cancer treatment option is not available (I am unaware why she cannot have it)
Here's the article:
Chrissy Amphlett, the former lead singer of The Divinyls, has revealed she has breast cancer.
Three years ago, the singer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
She has told The Age newspaper her most recent diagnosis has "thrown her for a six".
"It's **** and it's unfair, but life is not fair - even rock stars get breast cancer," Amphlett said.
"But there've been many girls before me who have dealt with it successfully.
"It's easy to feel sorry for me, but I feel sorry for people who are suffering it alone," she added.
Amphlett says she decided to go public with her diagnosis because her family knew, but friends and fans have been left wondering why she is not answering emails.
The singer, who turns 51 next week, says she is seeking treatment in New York where she lives with her husband of 11 years, former Divinyls drummer Charley Drayton.
"With my MS it makes my treatment a little more difficult. I can't have radiation and things like that," she said.
"But I have the best people here ... I'm strong and I will get over this.
"I have love around me; I have my husband and I have a sister in Victoria, who is also a breast cancer survivor."
Amphlett rose to fame as the lead singer of The Divinyls in the 1980s.
She famously wore schoolgirl uniforms with torn fishnet stockings on stage.
The band's biggest selling single was I Touch Myself, released in 1991. Their other hits included Boys In Town and Pleasure And Pain.
The band split up in 1996 but reunited briefly for a tour and album after being inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2006.
ANYWAY: maybe looking at how MS restricts breast cancer treatment could weigh into the argument and help you reach a final decision??