Thanks for the Support

When I decided to write a piece about my decision to have a preventative mastectomy I never imagined it would generate so much response. Over the last few days, I’ve received dozens of emails from readers in similar situations, notes of support from other women who’ve undergone the procedure, and tips about what to have on hand after surgery — a stack of videos, projects, and most importantly, button down pajamas. Friends, relatives, and associates came out of the woodwork to share personal stories about their own, or their families’ struggle with cancer. I feel really well-supported — thanks to everyone for all their notes, comments, and other messages.

I’m 27 and about to have a double mastectomy

Even though I’m a healthy 27-year-old woman right now, I’m going to have both my breasts removed as a preventative measure because I’m a member of a very exclusive club: Like one out of 1,000 women, I have a genetic mutation that dramatically ups my chance of cancer. My gene — called the BRCA1 gene — gives me a 40 percent to 85 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, and a risk of ovarian cancer that is 30 percent to 70 percent higher than women who do not have this gene, according to the Mayo Clinic.