'I'm choosing life over beauty': Miss America contestant to undergo double mastectomy as a preventative measure, after losing mother to breast cancer
18:00 GMT, 16 November 2012
A Miss America contestant, who lost her mother to breast cancer, has decided to undergo a double mastectomy as a preventative measure.
Allyn Rose, 24, who is set to represent Washington, D.C., in the January 12 pageant, made the decision after discovering she carries a gene linked to an increased risk of the disease.
Talking about her decision she told People: 'Breasts don't define your life. I'm choosing life over beauty… I'm not going to let my fear of losing this part of
my femininity stop me from living.'
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Thinking about the future: Miss America contestant, Allyn Rose, who lost her mother to breast cancer, has decided to undergo a double mastectomy as a preventative measure
Miss Rose plans to undergo surgery next
June, however is she wins the contest she will postpone treatment until January 2014, when her duties will be complete.
She said: 'My father and I have met with a surgeon and
countless doctors. Some of them are wary because I don't have breast
cancer and I am so young, but others have said it's a very smart move,
especially for someone who is genetically predisposed.'
WHAT IS PREVENTATIVE MASTECTOMY
Preventive mastectomy is the surgical removal of one or both breasts. It is done to prevent or reduce the risk of breast cancer in women who are at high risk of developing the disease.
In a total mastectomy, doctors remove the entire breast and nipple, while in a subcutaneous mastectomy, the doctor removes the breast tissue but leaves the nipple intact.
Existing data suggests that the treatment may significantly reduce the chances of developing tumors by about 90per cent.
Many choose to have breast reconstruction to restore the shape of the breast following surgery.
Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 27, and had her right breast removed.
However when she was in her late forties
it came back in her left breast and doctors revealed it had reached its
most aggressive phase, stage three.
Despite the family encouraging her to get both breasts removed, she refused and Miss Rose said that was 'ultimately the thing that killed her'.
Since losing her mother at the age of 16, Miss Rose has partnered with the Susan G. Komen
Breast Cancer Foundation, Tigerlilly Foundation and Dig Pink, educating
youth on cancer prevention.
Describing the disease, she explained: 'It
manifests in male children, but there have been studies that women who
are the carriers of it have almost a 75per cent likely chance of
contracting breast cancer.
'It's a very strange change in our genetic
code. Almost all of the women in my family have passed away from it.'
Determined: Miss Rose (right) said that to win Miss America would see her mother's dreams 'come to fruition'
Although she has thought long and
hard about having prevention treatment, she admits that she is worried
about what her body will look like afterwards.
She revealed: 'The idea that I could wake up one day and not have the same body that I did the day before is very scary.'
'Some doctors are wary because I don't have breast
cancer, but others have said it's a very smart move'
The self-proclaimed former tomboy said that she looks up to figures such as Robin
and Giuliana Rancic, who both have battled breast cancer, and she is
using her pageant opportunity to educate others on healthcare.
She won the title of Miss District
of Columbia 2012 in a state pageant held this June, and was previously crowned Miss
The Miss America competition will air live from Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on January 12, 2013 on ABC, when 53 female contestants will take to the stage.
Miss Rose added: 'To win the pageant would truly have my mother's dreams for me come to fruition.'
VIDEO: Allyn Rose, as Miss Maryland 2011: