For 19 year-old Hannah Fitzpatrick, having a preventative mastectomy was an easy decision. When the young woman was found to carry the faulty BRCA 2 gene, which meant she had an 85% chance of developing breast cancer in her life, she felt no option but to take the preventative action of a double mastectomy.
This made her the youngest woman in Britain to undergo this procedure when she had the eleven hour surgery last year. For Hannah, the gene was carried by her father’s side of the family, and her two cousins and aunts had been struck down with breast cancer. Seeing the disease have such a devastating effect on her family, and with her aunt terminally ill, Hannah saw the operation as the only way she could live a normal life.
She said, “I know I’m only young, but I would have spent years worrying about falling ill, especially if I ever found a lump”. Hannah now has no more chance of developing breast cancer than any other woman. According to Cancer Research UK, the chance of a woman developing the disease in her life is one in nine. Around 100 000 women in the UK are believed to carry the dangerous BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes. They can decide between regular monitoring and check-ups, or preventive surgery as Hannah did.
Hannah has now had four operations on her breasts, and she took the opportunity to increase their size from a 32B to 34C during reconstructive surgery. Hannah, who is training to be a nurse, can now look forward to the future with a positive outlook.
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