Skip to comments.I'm having my healthy breasts removed at 22 [not stupid or sick article]
Posted on 07/01/2004 6:28:06 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows
A young woman whose mother had her healthy breasts removed after it was found that she carried hereditary cancer genes is to undergo the same operation.
Becky Measures, 22, said she will have a double mastectomy after tests showed that she had a 90 per cent chance of contracting the disease in later life.
Her mother, Wendy Watson, became one of the first women in Britain to have a double mastectomy on healthy breasts.
The decision by Miss Measures, who works as a DJ on Peak 107 FM in Chesterfield, Derbys, is thought to be the first case of a daughter undergoing the same operation as her mother.
She said: "My mother had a double mastectomy 11 years ago although she hadn't got breast cancer and genetic tests at that time were in their infancy.
"It has been a major part of family life since I was very young. My grandmother and great grandmother died from breast cancer. At 22 it was a hard decision to make but I have grown up with it and I have just got to get on with it. My chances of catching breast cancer are minimal at the moment but as time goes on it would get more worrying.
"Before it gets to that stage it is better to get it out of the way. My boyfriend, family and friends are very supportive and it helps that my mum went through with the operation at 38."
She added: "Other family members have contracted breast cancer in their 30s and 40s so I have this large support network and the doctors have been fantastic. The surgeons carry out wonderful breast reconstruction jobs at the same time as the operation and their work is unbelievable.
"I have a lot to live for. This is my way of giving myself a future. A lot of women do not have the opportunity. I see it as a privilege."
Mrs Watson, 49, from Bakewell, Derbys, said: "When I had my double mastectomy it wasn't even recognised that breast cancer could be hereditary.
"When I discovered that nine family members had suffered breast cancer I went to my GP and asked what could be done.
"I had this awful feeling I was waiting to get breast cancer and hoping I had caught it in time."
After her operation, Mrs Watson set up the Genesis Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline for women.
She has recently sat on a panel for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence developing guidelines for women at high risk of breast cancer.
I notice some folks talking about dating and having children. If you read the article you'll see she has a boyfriend and he supports her decision.
And what the heck does it really matter what we think? She's studied the evidence and made her decision. My bet is she knows a lot more about the science than anybody here.
Agreed. And they are her breasts. She can do what she wants to them.
Yogi Berra alert!
"Ninety percent of this game is half mental"
Gotta agree with you.
My dad died of kidney cancer. Even so, I'll keep mine as long as I can.
Have they found any genetic markers for liberalism? It tends to run in families.
Kidneys and the colon are just a tad more necessary for life than breasts. A ridiculous comparison.
A person can live without them. One could always opt for dialysis.
But if the girl cited has chosen to be scared into mutilating herself, I won't stand in her way.
[i]"A double mastectomy is major surgery. I am suspicious that a physician would perform the surgeries in good conscience, with no clinical presentation beyond family history.
This is a dangerous precedent."[/i]
And you say I'm arrogant and condescending?
You have no qualifications to call into question the "conscience" of the Doctor, and then in "know it all fashion" further elaborate that this is a "dangerous precedent"...once again, with NO qualification to do so.
How arrogant is it of you to assume you know what is in this particular patient's best interest? Or, to conclude that since you, the almighty arbiter of common sense, do not agree with this course of care, that the Doctor is not acting in "good conscience"?
As far as my objectivity, no where in any of my posts did I state that I was in agreement with her decision...just that it bothered me that some of you for some very odd reason, felt compelled to call into question the motives and logical analysis of both the patient and her Doctors after she made a very difficult and intensely personal decision. As far as responding to your accusation that I am not "objective" as a Physician based on my financial remuneration, well I'm not going to stoop to your level. After spending 22 years in the US Navy as opposed to private practice, for someone to question my financial motives in the practice of medicine is laughable.
And BTW, to say that the UK's medical facilities and equipment is "archaic" is total and utter nonsense. It may not be American standard, but then again, nothing else in the world is.
A hell of a lot nicer than you know-it-alls are being to the involved parties in this decision.
I am lost as to why you made such a statement to me. I don't think I have posted anything on this thread that in anyway would offend you or have I posted to you. If you prefer to email me a response, that would be fine.
You can live without your colon (not perhaps nicely, but you can). A family history of colon cancer does not raise your own chances of getting colon cancer that much, as my gastroenterologist told me when I had a colonoscopy four years ago (several in my family have had colon cancer). It's a factor, but not the only one -- it's just as important, if not more so, to pay attention to diet and early warning signs such as rectal bleeding.
It's a very different story with breast cancer when female members of multiple generations have had it; the chances of developing it yourself in that case are MUCH higher.
Further, colon cancer, unlike pre-menopausal breast cancer, can be treated much more easily if caught early and has a much higher cure rate. In younger women, breast cancer is very aggressive. Even if she keeps her breasts, she will have to watch them like a hawk with mammograms, blood tests, etc., which may or may not catch it in time. It would be an enormous worry.
Were I in her shoes, I would probably still opt for the close watching approach, but I don't blame her in the least with the odds she's facing.
This type of cancer is particularly aggressive. Even if the tumors are found and treated, the survival rate is much lower and death much sooner than with other breast cancers.
Your sarcastic joke offended me.
Efficacy of Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy
in Women With a Family History of Breast Cancer
Surgeons are moving away from removing all of the breast tissue as a treatment option for breast cancer patients, but the trend to radical mastectomies is developing in a different arena. Women who are at high risk because of genetic factors are opting for prophylactic bilateral mastectomies to reduce the odds of developing cancer.
The New England Journal of Medicine reported on the first published study to look at this phenomenon. The results are impressive. The Mayo Clinic performed prophylactic bilateral mastectomies on 639 women from 1960 to 1993. The study looked at data on these women and used their sisters, who had not had the procedure, as a control group.
Between 30 and 52.9 cancers should have develped in the study participants. The expected incidence of cancer was determined by using the Gail model and the actual data obtained from the control group. Only three women had actually developed cancer by the conclusion of the study.
Prophylactic bilateral mastectomy reduced the risk of breast cancer by 90% to 94% according to the results of the analysis.
Although the authors found that the procedure significantly reduced the incidence of breast cancer for women at high risk, they had several reservations about recommending the surgery. They stated that, "risk reduction must be weighed against the operation's effect on body image and sexuality, considering that the procedure is irreversible and some high-risk women would never have developed breast cancer."
Source: N Engl J Med 340(2):77-84, January 1999
Authors: Hartmann LC, Schaid DJ, Woods JE, et al.
It wasn't a joke, it was an analogy. I was serious. This woman is nuts. You can read my other posts on this subject to see where I'm coming from.
Mutilation. Everyone in the medical community remotely connected with this should face a licensing hearing.
I couldn't be more disgusted.
Is it junk science really?
My Grandmother, Mother and both her sisters all had breast cancer.... every woman over 40 in my family. I think it is only a matter of time for me. Why not remove them before taking the chance on cancer getting a foothold? I've thought about it. I could have really fabulous fake ones put in ;~D