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First Strike: Women opting for risk-reducing breast surgery

Study: Mastectomies associated with decreased risk of breast cancer

Barry Carpenter

The 33 News

August 31, 2010

FORT WORTH, TEXAS

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Last November Tiffany Allison made the decision of a lifetime--she discovered a lump in her breast that turned out to be cancer and at 29 she faced her future.

"I did the genetic testing," Tiffany said. " I met with the surgeon to go over a treatment plan, what my options and what I was going to do about it."

The results were negative for the genetic mutations that increases the odds of breast and ovarian cancer--but Tiffany wasn't taking any chances.

"But because I was diagnosed at 29 they said there was definitely some kind of gene that caused me to develop breast cancer at that age so with that being said I definitely wanted to get the bilateral mastectomy done," Tiffany said.

Tiffany had both of her breasts removed--she can count the reasons why one one hand.

"The decision was pretty simple for me because I have four small kids," Tiffany said.

Researchers followed more 2,400 at risk women who had not been diagnosed with cancer and of those who had mastectomies --none had breast cancer three years later while 7 percent of the women who didn't have surgery were later diagnosed with breast cancer.

Women who had their ovaries removed were cancer free six years later while 3 percent of women who didn't have risk-reducing surgery were diagnosed with cancer.

Baylor All Saints radiation oncologist Katie Shide considers the study beneficial.

"Someone who doesn't have a diagnosis of cancer--that is a pretty big surgery so you would like for it to have some kind of good outcome on the other end," Shide said.

Shaken by her sisters cancer--Tamara Allison said that she sees genetic testing in her future.

"I don't want to just assume that because i'm 24 that everything is okay," Tamara said. "I will eventually go and get the test done."

As for Tiffany--there is no looking back.

"I feel great about everything," Tiffany said. "I don't regret my decision at all. I would do it all over again."

This week will mark three months since her last chemotherapy treatment.