The Miss America pageant is the stuff of dreams for some of us. It encapsulates the ideals of beauty, brains, compassion, and talent. We never think of a contestant as beautiful, blonde, and breastless. But Allyn Rose - Miss District of Columbia - will honor her mother by putting the spotlight on breast cancer, if she wins the 2013 crown.
When Miss Rose was just 16, her mother died of breast cancer, and many women in her family have carried the same genetic mutation that puts them at high risk for the disease. Recently, she took the genetic test and learned that she carries the family genetic mutation. She is considering a prophylactic double mastectomy - at age 24 - in order to reduce her risk of breast cancer. Right now, she has no symptoms, so having the mastectomy and breast reconstruction would make her a breast cancer previvor.
Allyn Rose's mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27 - quite young - and lost a breast to the disease. Her cancer recurred about 20 years later. Miss Rose will keep her natural breasts until the Miss America pageant takes place in January 2012. If she is not crowned, she will take time to have the double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction then. But - she says - if she wins the national title, she will delay surgery until after she has served the one-year term as a high-profile beauty queen. Either way, she is using her decision and her current position to bring attention to the issues relating to breast cancer, family health history, and choices that can empower women to reduce their risk.
Right now, the blonde, blue-eyed, paralegal has a figure that's better than a Barbie doll. Her curves are feminine yet muscular, earned from years of athletic competition. She looks great in evening wear and fills out a swimsuit to perfection. You know that she is taking her risk for breast cancer very seriously, if she's looking at voluntarily loosing both breasts. Allyn Rose said, "Breasts don't define your life. I'm choosing life over beauty. I'm choosing to remove something that's so iconic to my womanhood." She knows that this surgery will forever change her life, her longevity, and her figure.
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