January 11, 2013

"My mom would have given up every part of her body to be here for me, to watch me in the pageant."

"If there's something that I can do to be proactive, it might hurt my body, it might hurt my physical beauty, but I'm going to be alive."

After the Miss America pageant, contestant Allyn Rose will have a pre-emptive double mastectomy:
Rose said it was her father who first broached the subject, during her freshman year of college, two years after the death of her mother.

"I said, 'Dad I'm not going to do that. I like the body I have.' He got serious and said, 'Well then you're going to end up dead like your mom.'"

59 comments:

David said...

Tough step. I had a good friend who did this. She was in perfect health but her mother's cancer had highly hereditary characteristics and was very hard to treat effectively. Tough choice but it seemed to me a good one.

Surfed said...

Breast and prostate cancer. One you lose your looks or die. The other you lose your sexuality or die. Hobbsian choices both. I've worn pink ribbons to "Save the ta-ta's" or "Save 2nd Base". Never worn a brown ribbon to save a hard on. Would that be Gay-ish?

Larry J said...

It's a tough decision that only she can make for herself. It sounds like she has good reasons for the surgery.

JPS said...

Surfed:

Re prostate cancer: "lose your sexuality or die"?

Hmm. I can think of one famous government official who came through a bout of prostate cancer and, I'm assuming, didn't lose his sexuality. Might still be CIA director if he had.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The availability of reconstructive surgery doubtless eased her decision, NTTAWWT.

rhhardin said...

Breasts are overrated, especially naked ones, which just become part of the household background very fast.

Marshal said...

I'm hoping for some less depressing entries in the breast theme. It seems fundamentally wrong to focus exclusively on the dour aspects of this generally joyous subject.

Surfed said...

@JPS - Depends on how early they catch the cancer. Catch it early and you're good to go at least on a part time basis. Catch it late and you're fucked. Or not as the case may be.

Ann Althouse said...

"It's a tough decision that only she can make for herself. It sounds like she has good reasons for the surgery."

It's inconceivable that she'd do this without very good reason, and her conspicuousness is helpful to others who face this decision.

I think it's great to have a role model like this, and I'd even like to see open pride in the post-operative condition, not that it's required, but I think it would be cool... and fashion-forward.

Darrell said...

What's the science on this?
Or does that matter anymore?

BarrySanders20 said...

Who pays?

I was involved in a lawsuit with similar issues. Insured discovers she carries the BRCA1 gene and decides to get a prophylactic double mastectomy due to her fear of developing cancer. She requests preauthorization with the support of her surgeon. Company denies pre-auth, claiming that elective removal of healthy body parts when disease is not certain to result does not meet the policy's definition of "Illness" or "Sickness."

Lawsuit, discovery, motions, and the federal judge finds coverage. Company pays and passes on the costs to the collective risk pool.

Surfed said...

A tropical isle where one can practice a Luddite existence. Serene, composed and unknowing.

dbp said...

One would hope that she is making an informed decision, though the article does not give us enough information to know.

"Rose does not carry the "breast cancer genes" BRCA1 and BRCA2, but she did inherit a rare genetic mutation which might predispose her to the disease."

The first thing I would ask my doctor is if the mom had the cancer prone varients of BRCA1 and BRCA2 or not. If the mom had them and Rose doesn't, she might not be all that prone to the disease.

The other thing we do not know is which side of the family the other women are on. If they are on her mom's side, then they do not contribute to the risk--asuming they got cancer from the same gene mutation as the mom did.



William said...

People do not get mastectomies or prostate operations for faddish reasons.

Marshal said...

Ann Althouse said...
It's inconceivable that she'd do this without very good reason, and her conspicuousness is helpful to others who face this decision.


People commonly allow their phobias to drive them to extreme actions. One woman so internalized the media's frenzy over silicon breast implants she cut hers out of herself with a kitchen knife. I was relieved to read this decision seemed reasoned rather than an emotionalized overreaction precisely because it is so easy for extreme decisions to be made in that manner.

Darrell said...

They may not do it as a fad, but they may do it because they get stupid ideas in their head or are bombarded with silly notions from other people. A higher risk for something is not a certainly of getting it in the future. I would think that getting screened more often would be a better course of action (except for the test that may actually increase cancer risks, like X-rays, of course).

Darrell said...

There once was a time when doctors would send you home if you wanted to remove something prophylactically. Of course they didn't let kids decide what sex they wanted to be, either.

Lucien said...

Hard to know whether to think this is a reasonable, overstated, or pathological reaction to a rsk because the magnitude of the risk (= chance of breast canncer - survivability + harm from chemo. and/or radiation treatments (roughly)).

Support from medicos. makes it likely this is not a pathological response.

Inga said...

The science behind the decision was probably genetic testing and a mother who died of the same aggressive form of breast cancer. It's highly familial.

Darrell said...

"Rose does not carry the "breast cancer genes" BRCA1 and BRCA2, but she did inherit a rare genetic mutation which might predispose her to the disease."

If she is at double the risk, she still has a 75% chance that she will NEVER develop breast cancer.

Inga said...

The rare genetic marker is what would make her decision a correc one, IMO. Even at the least a 25% chance, that's like playing Russian roulette.

Levi Starks said...

Will the affordable care act pay for this?
Will this effect any future decisions on childbirth?
Not concerning breastfeeding, but the possibility of bringing a daughter into the world who because of a high genetic predisposition would be faced with the same tough choice she's had to make.
Perhaps she'll go to a more enlightened country where parents are allowed to determine the sex of their child.
It seems like this is a case in which careful genetic screening could be eliminate a disease. Since it seems natural selection just isn't up to the task.

Alex said...

She shouldn't allow herself to be maimed like this. Just take her chances and be beautiful I say!

Darrell said...

Never let a "might" stop you. That's good thinking. She might get ovarian cancer, too. She should look into a prophylactic hysterectomy while she's at it.

Leland said...

Who pays?

No pun intended, but I think it is evolutionary with the advancement of medicine. Once their is a better understanding of the genetic markers, insurers will change their definitions. This doesn't happen overnight, but I think it will happen in time. Some will suffer because of the delay, but the hesitation protects other negative outcomes.

Synova said...

That's about as stupid, Alex, as those who believe that women shouldn't be soldiers because they might get a scar and never be happy again for their entire life because they had a visual wound and it's totally different for a woman to have a flaw on her body.

(There are other issues about women and war but *that* one is pure moron.)

Alex said...

What man would have her after this? A women's desirabiliity is tied up with having active mammaries.

Synova said...

The article said (unless I'm confused) that her mother had a breast removed in her 20's and then got cancer in her other breast in her 40's and died.

I don't believe it's possible that her mother did not have regular and frequent exams to detect cancer in that breast.

This lady (and her dad) may have very good cause not to trust "early" detection.

BarrySanders20 said...

Alex, your sockpuppet needs prophylactic removal.

Synova said...

Okay, fine, Alex. I bit. I repent of that.

Emergency rooms will be glad to know that if women come in with injuries that will result in disfiguring scars they can save the resources and just let them die.

Darrell said...

And, of course, all of the breast tissue cannot be removed during surgery and the remaining breast tissue remaining in your body can still develop breast cancer. Screening after prophylactic removal may be skipped as well, further increasing the rsik of early detection.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't believe it's possible that her mother did not have regular and frequent exams to detect cancer in that breast."

Maybe it's such an aggressive cancer that frequent exams were not enough. Otherwise, Allyn Rose could deal with the problem with very frequent exams.

Crunchy Frog said...

Tough subject for me - lost the missus to breast cancer at age 38.

Only advice I could give her is to stay off the pill.

bagoh20 said...

"What man would have her after this? A women's desirabiliity is tied up with having active mammaries"

Dude , I'm supposed to be the resident chauvinist around here.

Just speaking physically, I be quite happy with her as is, without the breasts, or with less dangerous replacements. Maybe, I'm just not a boob chauvinist.

As RHardin says, they lose their special power quickly anyway.

Inga said...

Crunchy Frog, sorry to hear about the loss of your wife at such a young age.

Also want to tell you I had to look at your avatar very closely to see what I suspected.

Larry J said...

I remember this story being discussed here last summer. It's about the 15 year old boy who won the Intel Science fair by inventing a simple, inexpensive and reliable method to detect pancreatic cancer. I think there's a good chance his technique could be modified to detect breast cancer. If so, it could revolutionize screening. No more x-ray exposure for routine mammograms. Instead, you'd take a blood sample to test for the antibodies and save mammograms for those who test positive. Women at high risk could safely and easily have these tests ran every month if necessary.

If his work pans out like it appears, they'll be building statues of his kid.

Basta! said...

One of my sisters told me about a growing number of people (almost all men) who are convinced that one of their legs just doesn't belong, so much so that they try to convince surgeons to amputate the offending limb. Some of them have succeeded in getting doctors to go along with this. In fact, this obsession looks like it now has its own name, "Body Integrity Identity Disorder", so that it can be officially diagnosed and, I'm sure if not already then soon, covered by insurance.

If they can't find a doctor to amputate, some of them tie one leg up and hop around on crutches as if amputees, others go so far as to repeatedly freeze the leg in dry ice or take a shotgun or chainsaw to it, to force hospitals to finish or clean up the amputation.

A woman named Melody Gilbert made a documentary about these people, called "Whole", in around 2003, which is said to be *sympathetic* to them.

So there are people who actively seek to surgically remove a healthy body part (as we already know from transsexuals) for reasons other than what medicine has traditionally considered valid, and they do sometimes manage to get members of the medical profession to go along with it.

Not that I think the young woman in question falls under this category.

Basta! said...

One of my sisters told me about a growing number of people (almost all men) who are convinced that one of their legs just doesn't belong, so much so that they try to convince surgeons to amputate the offending limb. Some of them have succeeded in getting doctors to go along with this. In fact, this obsession looks like it now has its own name, "Body Integrity Identity Disorder", so that it can be officially diagnosed and, I'm sure if not already then soon, covered by insurance.

If they can't find a doctor to amputate, some of them tie one leg up and hop around on crutches as if amputees, others go so far as to repeatedly freeze the leg in dry ice or take a shotgun or chainsaw to it, to force hospitals to finish or clean up the amputation.

A woman named Melody Gilbert made a documentary about these people, called "Whole", in around 2003, which is said to be *sympathetic* to them.

So there are people who actively seek to surgically remove a healthy body part (as we already know from transsexuals) for reasons other than what medicine has traditionally considered valid, and they do sometimes manage to get members of the medical profession to go along with it.

Not that I think the young woman in question falls under this category.

Birches said...

I think I would make a choice like that. Mammograms and self exams don't catch everything. I know an elderly lady who had mastitis. The doctors figured she had breast cancer since she obviously wasn't lactating, but they could not find it through normal means. They ended up taking the breast to find it. Perhaps her mother got regular mammograms that did not show what it should have.

Of course, if I did a mastectomy, I probably would never consider implants. Just something else to get in the way of detecting a tumor.

Birches said...

And crunchy frog, why the pill?

Michael K said...

Bilateral mastectomy for cancer prophylaxis is not disfiguring if done right. My sister had it done 30 years ago on my advice after she had a biopsy that suggested high risk. I told her to find a plastic surgeon in her city and have subcutaneous mastectomies and implants done. Her surgeon in that city called me and said she had a phobia. I told him it was my advice.

After the surgery one breast had invasive cancer that was still microscopic. Her kids were small at the time. Now she has grandchildren she might never have seen. I've done that surgery many times and have yet to have a patient regret it. Often, their breasts are larger after with the implants. The same surgery is not safe after the cancer has been diagnosed and is larger.

Chip Ahoy said...

is not safe after the cancer has been diagnosed and is larger.

OoooOOOooooo that a'splains it.

Methadras said...

NO!!!! Sigh, here's to hoping she gets good reconstructive surgery.

Freeman Hunt said...

I would definitely do that. Sure, you'd miss some things about them, but there would be lots of positives too.

Far less likely to get breast cancer. (The big obvious positive and reason for doing it in the first place.)
No having to buy bras.
You could wear some stylish, svelte-type clothes.
Easier exercising.

I'm sure there are more.

ambienisevil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crimso said...

She's also missing the metastatic multidrug-resistant tumors, so there is that.

MrCharlie2 said...

What if she wins?

Crunchy Frog said...

And crunchy frog, why the pill?

There is evidence to suggest that long term Pill use is associated with increased risk of breast cancer. (Wow, lot of weasel words there.)

AFAIK, there have not been any longitudinal bilateral studies to bear it out. Seems there is no anti-pill lobby willing to fund one.

Synova said...

Pill use, *abortion*, (possibly natural miscarriage), and failure to breast feed.

I don't know how much support there is for any of it, but it seems logical enough that anything that yanks your hormones around might make a difference.

Synova said...

And yeah... there's a reluctance to do a study that might find out that birth control is bad for you or abortion increases your chance of getting cancer.

Birches said...

I'd take that bet, Synova. You're right, it probably does have to do with hormone levels. I'd never heard of the pill before, only the breast feeding and abortion. Although, I wonder if breast feeding has to do with how most women are left with empty socks after they're done nursing a few kids. It would be hard to miss a tumor in that condition.

Theranter said...

"Crunchy Frog said...
Tough subject for me - lost the missus to breast cancer at age 38." so sorry Crunchy, but bless you for saying this:

"Only advice I could give her is to stay off the pill."

As I type, breastlessly, but alive. It takes courge to state the truth. Talk about a poison pill. First among the questions from my onc: "how long were you on the pill, and at what age did you start?" The onc's know the truth of this poison pill, but the radical left (especially the academic feminazis) outshout the honest oncologists.

Funny too, because the synthetic hormones in the pill are excreted into our municipal water supply, and are not removed during treatment- recirculating back to our kitchen taps! No wonder male breast cancer & other male reproductive cancers are on the rise. And they want you to believe it is the evil plastic water bottles that are causing breast cancer! These people have perfected the art of watch the other hand so you don't see the truth.

kentuckyliz said...

Crunchy: my cuz is an epidemiologist in the UK. The population level studies show a clear pattern. The Pill is dangerous if used as little as 5 years total in your lifetime, consecutive or not.

It was the 2nd question when I was dx'd, after family hx.

Remember...before widespread use of the Pull, BrCa was considered an old woman's disease.

kentuckyliz said...

I tested neg for BRCA1&2... They won't test for CHK2. My BrCa was so aggressive, it was detected 2 months after a mammogram, by a PET CT scan. Axillary lymph nodes already involved.

kentuckyliz said...

Couldn't feel he lump even after mapping it. Not enough time to calcify.

Michael The Magnificent said...

SGT Ted said: How about pictures of the splattered brains of tyrants shot by patriots?

It should be required to attach such pictures to all jack-booted Executive Orders, such as the one Joe Biden is contemplating.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Well, the original post has been deleted, so I fully expect my reference to it to be deleted as well.

Michael The Magnificent said...

SGT Ted said: How about pictures of the splattered brains of tyrants shot by patriots?

It should be required to attach such pictures to all jack-booted Executive Orders, such as the one Joe Biden is contemplating.

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