Triad woman considers double mastectomy

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GREENSBORO, N.C.--25-year-old Brittany Henderson from Davidson County tested positive for a BRCA 1 mutation gene, which makes women more likely to develop breast cancer.

She was happy actress Angelina Jolie announced Tuesday she had a double mastectomy to reduce her risks of cancer.

"This is kind of odd to say but I was excited that she came out and said this in the news because people still don't know what this is," Henderson said.

Cone Health Genetic Counselor Karen Powell said women who tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation are about 85% more likely to develop breast cancer than the average woman.

Men can also test positive for the gene mutation, but it only increases their risks by 7%.

A double mastectomy or a hysterectomy can reduce the development of breast and ovarian cancers by 5% to 10%.

"There are hereditary factors that can come into play in regards to breast cancer, but that the vast majority of people who have breast cancer will not need this test," Powell said.

Henderson said that both her aunt and grandmother passed away from breast cancer.

She said although surgery may be in her future, she has made appointments with her oncologist for monitoring sessions before deciding.

"I'm not sure I want to have the surgery just yet, simply because I am 25 and I'm still single and unmarried and have no children. But, it's definitely in the future for me. When it takes your risk from all the way up to 80 percent down to 5 to 10 percent who could say no to that," Henderson asked.

The BRAC analysis blood test for BRCA 1 or 2 costs about $4,040 without insurance.