ETX woman decides on preventative double mastectomy - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

ETX woman decides on preventative double mastectomy

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

Just this week, actress Angelina Jolie announced she recently had a preventative double mastectomy when she found out she carried the BRCA1 gene, commonly referred to as the breast cancer gene.

East Texas women said they too were faced with making this difficult choice after learning their risk level for developing breast cancer was greater than the average woman.

"I may die of cancer but it's not going to be breast cancer," said Jennie Ferguson who like Jolie, had a preventative double mastectomy.

Ferguson said her mother and sister were diagnosed with breast cancer; her younger sister did not survive.

She said she did not need to be tested for the breast cancer gene before going through with the surgery.

"It was not going to be if I got breast cancer, but it was going to be when I got breast cancer," Ferguson said.

Surgeon Michael Norton with Trinity Mother Francis said they have known about BRCA1 and BRCA2 for about 15 years.

"We've been able to identify the gene with an abnormality with the breast tissue that is part of a healing gene that occurs. The risk of getting breast cancer with a BRCA gene can be somewhere between 60 to 80%," Dr. Norton said.

Actress Angelina Jolie recently announced she went through with the genetic test and a preventative double mastectomy after learning she had an 87 % chance of developing breast cancer, a number she said decreased to under five percent after the surgery.

"The decision to treat a BRCA gene can begin at the diagnoses of the genetic abnormality or it can be done gradually through life. We recommend screening at the age of 25," Dr. Norton said.

Surgeon Norton said the decision varies from person to person and a lot of times, it depends on the age of the individual. For both Jolie and Ferguson, their decision to have a double mastectomy is something they say they do not regret.

"I have been fine ever since; I haven't looked back. I would do it all over again and I was very glad that I made that decision," Ferguson said.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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