I HAD MY HEALTHY BREASTS REMOVED AFTER A BOOB JOB TO STOP ME GETTING CANCER JUST LIKE SHARON OSBOURNE
A WOMAN has told how she decided to have both healthy breasts removed after discovering she carried the breast cancer gene.
Her story echoes that of former x factor judge Sharon Osbourne who has revealed that she underwent a double mastectomy after learning she carried the gene.
Like Sharon, brave Jenny from Orpington, Kent, had the operation because she couldn’t bear to live under the shadow of cancer.
She said: ‘ I applaud Sharon for talking about her mastectomy. Our stories are very similar. Like me she’d had a breast augmentation before finding out she carried the gene. We were both healthy at the time but didn’t want to spend our lives worrying about getting cancer. It has not been easy but it was the best decision I ever made.’
Mother of two Jenny, 46, discovered she carried the faulty gene in 2009 after her father had been treated for breast cancer.
He’d needed a mastectomy and after 12 months of chemotherapy had made a full recovery.
As her grandmother had also died of the disease aged 55, receptionist Jenny was invited for screening tests to see if she carried the faulty gene.
She said: ‘ I had always wondered if there was a link but when the letter arrived offering me a test I was terrified.’
At the time Jenny was just seven months away from marrying her fiance Ricky Taylor, 46.
Tragically he had been widowed when his first wife Kay died of cancer aged 45.
Jenny said: ‘ I was frightened about having the tests but as well as my own two children I owed it to Ricky and his sons to find out if I carried the gene or not. He had already lost one wife to cancer. I was not going to let him go through that again.’
Jenny took her father with her for the tests and waited 14 days for the results.
‘It was horrendous. I would dream of cancer and tumours every night and checked my breasts for changes every day.’
Finally the consultant called her with the results. Jenny said: ‘ She asked me to come in but I begged her to tell me on the phone. When she said it was positive and I had a gene that gave me an 85 per cent increased risk of breast cancer I was stunned.
‘I was crying as she explained having a double mastectomy would dramatically reduce the risk.
‘Initially it felt like an awful choice to make, lose my breasts or risk my life. I’d had a boob job nine years earlier and took great pride in my figure, but then I thought about Ricky’s wife Kay and how she had never been given that chance.
‘I started to see it as blessing, I had been one of the lucky ones. The test had given me a chance to save my life.’
Later Jenny explained to Ricky that a double mastectomy would reduce her chances of getting breast cancer to just 10 per cent, lower than the average persons 15 per cent.
‘I knew I wanted to have the operation and Ricky wholeheartedly agreed with me. My only concern was having the surgery before my wedding.’
Jenny had already bought a stunning strapless gown and didn’t want to risk not being fully recovered in time for her big day.
So she spoke to her consultant about delaying the mastectomy until after her wedding day and honeymoon.
‘I told the specialist the date and they agreed it would be fine as long as I checked for any changes in my breasts every day.
‘Deep down I admit I wanted to enjoy my wedding and honeymoon with my breasts. A tiny part of me feared I was risking my life just to look good on my wedding day, but my consultant agreed the risk was minimal over such a short space of time.’
After their wedding in July 2009 Jenny and husband Ricky spent two weeks in the Caribbean.
‘I wore my bikini every day, it was almost like saying goodbye to my breasts,’ says Jenny.
After several postponements was finally admitted to hospital for the nine- hour operation to remove both her breasts in January 2010.
Jenny had hoped to have reconstructive surgery at the same time, but after the mastectomy she was told the skin had been too tight to insert the implants during the operation.
Instead surgeons needed to start a procedure to stretch the skin using saline sacs.
She later had reconstructive surgery but her implants failed and had to be removed.
Jenny is now hoping her reconstructive surgery will be complete soon.
She said: ‘ It’s been hard but I don’t regret my decision for a minute. I don’t have to live under the shadow of cancer and losing my breasts is a small price to pay to live without fear.
‘My daughter Ashley turns 18 next year and she will have the screening test to see if she carries the gene. She has already told me if it’s positive she wants the mastectomy and I would support her every step of the way.
‘Sharon Osbourne talking about this only helps to make the decision easier for other women. But like she said, it’s not brave, it’s simple. We want to be around to see our families grow up. It’s a weight off my shoulders.’