15-year-old wants to remove breasts to reduce cancer risk

Filed under: Just For Moms, Teens, Health & Safety: Babies, Media

I don't know too many women who haven't been impacted by breast cancer. It seems we all know someone who has struggled with the devastating disease . I myself have had three separate scares: benign fibroaedenomas removed from my left breast in three separate operations. I have been lucky, thank Pete, but the fact that I mightn't have been is never very far from my mind.

I was intrigued by this article about a 15-year old girl who wants to remove her breasts in an effort to minimize her risk of breast cancer later in life. Joanna Payne watched her Mother struggle with the disease for years and made the decision to remove her breasts rather than wonder everyday if she might be carrying the genes for what Doctors have called a hereditary breast cancer.

Says Joanne: Although I still face tests to see if I carry this rogue gene which my mother has, doctors have already warned me that it is genetic and that I am highly likely to develop the disease. It may be they can't identify a gene, but this still would not stop me wanting preventative surgery.

Joanne's Mom declined to have a mastectomy, opting instead for a lumpectomy in favour of retaining what she perceived to be "her femininity." Though she is sympathetic to her daughter's dear, she is saddened by the thought that her daughter will be "mutilating" her young body. She also fears that Doctor's will have new treatments for breast cancer in a decade, and that her daughter will regret her decision to alter her body so drastically.

15 is pretty young to make life-altering decisions, but Joanne's arguments seem rational and reasonable. If she does have the procedure done, she'll be the youngest woman in the UK ever to have undergone a mastectomy.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.