Beauty Queen Makes Drastic Decision After Learning She Has Cancer Gene
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A young beauty queen is fearless about her decision to undergo a double mastectomy.
Mary Bubala reveals the very personal reasons behind this life-changing decision, one that many women are beginning to make.
She’s beautiful and talented, but Allyn Rose of southern Maryland—who competed in this year’s Miss America pageant—says she’s choosing life with a bold decision.
“I’m fearless. You can be fearless, too,” she said.
The 24-year-old–whose body is so much of her image–has decided to undergo a double mastectomy.
“Miss DC Cancer,” she said. “That’s a scary thing for a 24-year-old, especially someone who doesn’t have children, who’s not married.”
Rose’s mom was just 51 when she lost her battle with breast cancer. Rose was only 16.
“One of the last things she said to me was to watch after my little brother,” Rose said. “I took her hand. I said, `I will take care of Zion. I will take care of Dad. It’s okay for you to go now.’”
Not long after the devastating loss of her mom, Rose learned she inherited the same rare genetic mutation that caused her mother, grandmother, great-aunt and another woman in her family to get breast cancer.
“[My dad] just looked me in the face and said, `You are going to end up dead, dead, dead just like your mom,” Rose said.
It was her dad who convinced her she needed to take radical action.
“He said, `I want you to be alive. I think it’s a good decision for you. Please let’s do this,” she said.
Rose says her decision to have both breasts surgically removed is a choice not to live in fear.
“It’s like a ticking time bomb for me and it was never a matter of if. It was always when and I don’t want this looming over my shoulder for the rest of my life,” Rose said.
She says she has received letters of support from across the world–and a few concerned about her decision.
“They think it’s a mutilation of my body. I don’t need to do it; I can wait but my mom didn’t have that luxury,” she said.
Dr. Kristen Fernandez is director of the Breast Cancer at Medstar Franklin Square. She says women genetically predisposed to breast cancer have as much as an 85 percent higher chance of getting the disease.
“So if you can tell a woman that is her risk, sometimes the surgical decision is a little easier,” Fernandez said.
Dr. Fernandez sees more and more young women worried about their genes making the choice for radical surgery.
“They’re saying, `Look, I’m in my 30s; I’m in my 20s. I either have young children or I want to have children. My breasts aren’t that important. I want to be alive 30 years from now,” she said.
Rose’s thoughts of her mom help her put the decision in perspective.
“As much as it’s a difficult decision, you are changing your body, the thing that people think is the most iconic to your womanhood but what’s most iconic to your womanhood is being a mother and being there for your kids,” Rose said. “My mom would have given up every part of her body to be here.”
Choosing a preventative double mastectomy can decrease your chances of getting breast cancer by more than 90 percent.