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.
Junk Science Alert!
What kind of tests showed that she had a 90% chance of getting breast cancer?
Knowing what she did about her family history, another option would have been extremely close monitoring hoping that she fell into the 10% chance that she wouldn't get it. Not sure about prophylactic mastectomy. Probably best to get the advice of several surgeons.
With drastic medical advances being made almost DAILY, I would think this to be a rather EXTREME anecdote.......
I may get diabetes and lose my legs so I may as well cut them off now and be done with it.
I have a friend who has thought about doing the same thing. Her mother also had breast cancer. My sister-in-law's mother is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, so I worry about my sister-in-law and my niece if they will get it.
How many women die of incurable breast cancer at very young ages? Is this article even for real?
This is a dangerous precedent.
If I were her, I probably would have waited until she was done having children so that she could breast feed them.
Also, the longer you breast feed helps reduce your chance of getting breast cancer.
There is an important difference - metastasis.
While one would have to think long and hard about a voluntary double mastectomy, if the markers are for cancers that metastisize rapidly, it makes sense.
By the way in the interim she had a benign tumor on her hearing nerve at the brain stem the size of an apple. But we never considered cutting off her head to spite her tumor. :-}
I remember the house doctor on one of the morning shows several years ago mentioned something like "If a woman has 12 children and breast feeds them all, her chance of getting breast cancer are about zero."
Survival rates for breast cancer in pre-menopausal women are significantly lower than for those who develop breast cancer post menopause. If you have to face breast cancer at any point in life, you definitely don't want to get it as a young woman.
All the same, I think I'd opt for very close monitoring rather than have my breasts removed prophylatically, but I can also understand her decision. What a horrible prospect to face.
Her name is Miss Measures?
This has to be a joke.
I wonder if she had the originals simultaneously replaced with a set of bolt-ons?
Imagine being 22 having bilateral mastectomies and using prostheses and dating.
If it was in a tabloid I wouldn't have bothered posting it, but the Telegraph is as respectable as they come. (With mainstream media, granted that's faint praise.)
Prophylactic Mastectomies have been done for years. While not very common, it is not unheard of. It was more controversial back before gene markers became available and reliable.
Elective mastectomy with immediate reconstruction (if desired), while major surgery, for a healthy female would not be risk prohibitive.
"Close screening" for breast cancer is not a panacea, and the more breast bxs a patient has for suspicious lesions as time passes makes a lot of radiographic methods of detection, and physical exam, less useful.
I'm not a woman but I think this is very sensible considering her family history. She can have reconstructive surgery and never have to worry about this.
Just because one's mother has had breast cancer,does NOT mean that you are.Trust me,I do all about this.
A relative of mine was positive for the gene and she too had her breasts removed and reconstructed by a brilliant doctor in New Orleans. I think its very wise for all women to have this test if breast cancer runs in the family. Thankfully, I tested negative. A good place to go in California is Generisk, which is right be Cedar Sinai Hospital.
It would seem to me that a "watchful waiting" approach, stressing frequent examinations, would have been a prudent alternative.
I don't know ANYTHING about mastectomies. I'm a guy, and mercifully, no one in my family has suffered from breast cancer. But, if they removed the tissue inside the breast while leaving the skin and nipple, couldn't they simply put a silicone or saline implant directly into the now-empty bag? Sorry for sounding a bit crude, but it seems to me that it wouldn't be much different from any other young woman getting implants.
Very true in this country, but this is from the UK where she has to deal with a socialist medical system, detecting breast cancer even at an early stage may still be a death sentence, if she has to wait years for treatment.
Insane doctors!Any doctor who would do this should have their license pulled.Poor girl is not thinking.Don't ever put that much faith in medicine.
I've heard about many more women doing just the opposite for the same reasons.
I saw a story on Dateline about two years ago about this subject. It was in the U.S. The woman was in her 30s and had lost her mother, grandmother, sister and a couple of aunts to breast cancer.
There is a test to determine with certainty that a person has a 90% chance of getting the disease. If I had those markers, I would elect for a double masectomy. It would trouble me a great deal, but 90% is almost a liklihood.
You have put my mind at ease, for my mother died of ovarian cancer and I don't want to experience the horrors of that.
I refuse to have my prostate tinkered with because of it. ; )
Any Doctor who removes perfectly healthy organs isnt a doctor , he is a butcher. Colin Cancer runs in my family , but I am not thinking of having my intestines removed.
Agree -- I wouldn't board a plane that had a 90% chance of crashing. Granted, advances may be made, but with that family history, I don't know that I'd roll the dice on it. Her decision is completely understandable.
bilateral mastectomies should not be a panacea either when there is no clinical indication beyond history. That was my point. The surgery took place in the U.K., not here in the states.
There was a breast cancer researcher a few years ago that was recommending bilateral mastectomies on all females once they no longer were in prime baby making age.
He was very out there. It would be almost 100% preventative though.
Colon cancer is highly treatable, especially if one is checked for it regularly. Breast cancer in young women (20s-30s) is very aggressive and not as easily treated. They aren't comparable forms of cancer.
Have you ever prayed, or have you been too busy idolizing one of your own.
Well, sort of, and not really. She's having preventive surgery at 22 for a cancer she doesn't have and may never have. She has a 10% chance of never getting it. Sounds a tad extreme to me. Seems she could hold off until at least the kids are born and nursed.
"Have you ever prayed, or have you been too busy idolizing one of your own."
What are you talking about? I gave my opinion. What does idolizing or praying have to do with this?
"With drastic medical advances being made almost DAILY..."
Regrettably, the overwhelming majority of advances are merely incremental, especially in oncology. Extending patient survival (in late stages) by a few months is counted as a major advance and trumpeted to the max, both in the media and in the stock market. So her choice was either to hope and wait for a revolutionary advance (and who knows when it is coming - exponentially skyrocketing costs of pharmaceutical R&D mean that most of the easy pickings have already been accomplished) or to take a plunge and save herself the trouble of waiting. She chose the latter, and her decision cannot be called irrational.
The Hippocratic oath taken by them may have something to do with that.
10% means one chance in ten of NOT getting it, and as other posters have pointed out, breast cancer is very aggressive - it nearly killed my mother at 30. Assuming that the test is reliable (always a big if, granted), I think her decision is rational, if heartbreaking.
Well placed trust.
Where do you place yours?
Sorry for the confusion I have placed upon you.
So you've seen the research?
Have you thought about what you've just said?
This lady is going to have her breasts removed without having anything wrong with them. They don't DO that on the NHS. (National Health Service). This is a private medical op.
If she can afford to get this done privately. She can afford to get regular breast screening done privately.
Socialist medicare doesn't enter into it.
"Well placed trust.
Where do you place yours?
Sorry for the confusion I have placed upon you."
What is this, 20 questions? Do me a favor, take me off your loony radar screen.