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Miss America Contestant Considers Double Mastectomy

By November 20, 2012

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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.

"The idea that I could wake up one day and not have the same body that I did the day before is very scary," she told People Magazine. "But I also realize my mom was diagnosed at 27. That's three years away from me. I'm not going to let my fear of losing this part of my femininity stop me from living." Brave words, those are. I wish her health, and I hope she competes well in January. I may just have to tune it to see the pageant this year!
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November 21, 2012 at 8:41 am
(1) Cheryl says:

The sad thing is that even having a double mastectomy will not guarantee protection against breast cancer.
It can show up in other organs anytime, having “seeded” .
I wish her the best.

November 21, 2012 at 8:51 am
(2) DOLLAR - SA says:

Prevention is better than cure. we all know that is not 100% accurate but we all try the best to prevent something we might have. i relate with descision to have it. some of us if we knew about out genetic conditions or the technology was so advance we could have done so much to prevent. you go girl and i wish all the best for all .

November 21, 2012 at 9:53 am
(3) otessa says:

I agree with both of the previous comments. I have an Internet friend who has two children, ages around 13 and 10. She has a family history and she herself hasn’t had cancer yet, but has the gene and has had numerous problems. Her doctors told her it’s most likely not if but when she will get breast cancer. About two years ago she profalactively had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. I applaud her for taking this step and give herself, her family and her children a much bigger chance of having their mother around for years to come instead of living in fear.

November 21, 2012 at 11:36 am
(4) Brenda says:

Better to do it Before than when she finds something… I know I got the genetic testing 3 years ago and am BRACA positive.. had a hysterectomy and was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in May… should have done what the Dr. recommended..but can’t go back.. just surgery would have been so much easier than Chemo, surgery & Radiation… Good for her for making an informed decision..we need people in the public eye to keep it in front of the public !

November 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm
(5) nighs says:

the doctors did real good to put the fear in her… What about life style changes… what about research … what about DIM what about I3C what about cruciferous vegetables… what about giving up dairy… what about the research that lumpectomy and mastectomy have same outcome..what about alternative medicine

November 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm
(6) kathybauman@yahoo.com says:

I had a masectomy & immediate reconstruction 2 yrs ago followed by 8 rounds of chemo. I found the lump, it was 7 cc. I feel Miss Rose should not remove her breasts, but get her annual mamogram. Breast Cancer is curable if found early. I did the mistake never having a mamo & finding a tumor at 50. BC doesn’t run in my family, never thought I had to worry, everyone is at risk. I am healthy now & thankful for everyday. Watch your sugar intake & stay away from soy products.

November 22, 2012 at 7:54 am
(7) Cheryl says:

“Breast cancer is curable if found early”. Really? Go to breastcancer.org or the inspire web site. You will find many,many men and women who thought exactly that. Then 5,10 or more years later, long after they were “cured”, they were found to have stage IV.
It is naive to think that early detection means cured forever. Just another myth perpetuated in the breast cancer world.
BTW I had mammograms every year for almost 40 years,and my 2 idc’s were never seen.My diagnosis was through MRI,and PET/CAT scans.

November 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm
(8) Marci says:

Kudos to Miss Rose! I see this so many times people stating their opinions IF…! Miss Rose has made an INFORMED decision for HERSELF. She carries the BRCA gene. This information of testing positive is a clear statement. I lost my mother to breast cancer, then was diagnosed just after I turned 49. What does one do? It’s a tough individual choice and made only for the person who has to make that tough choice. Stay informed. Read and hope research (not a pink ribbon) finds a cure. We are close but not completely there yet! MARCH FORTH…Miss Rose!!

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