She usually makes headlines for her daring stunts in movies.......now Angelina Jolie is making headlines for making a daring decision to have a double mastectomy.
A local woman shares why she had her breast removed.
Before hollywood brought the topic of mastectomy into the national conversation, Elizabeth Clemmons had surgery to remove both breast in order to fight breast cancer. Doctors only found a mass in her breast, but because of her family history, she felt this was the best route for her, "my mother died of breast cancer at the age of 73. It was triple negative, it was very rare very aggressive cancer.
Two weeks after she passed they found a mass in my breast, had a mammogram had a sonogram....the consequences was that I needed to have a bilateral mastectomy.
A mastectomy is used to remove all breast tissue, if someone has breast cancer or if you're at especially high risk of developing it. High risk breast cancer, comes from a strong family history of the disease or the presence of certain genetic mutations, that increase the risk of cancer.
Dr. Edmond Ritter, Plastic Surgeon at GRU, "so if these woman already have a breast cancer, it doesn't make since to leave large amounts of tissue behind to form another one. and many of these women are already interested in risk reduction surgery, use to be called Prophylactic mastectomy.
After both breast are removed, many like Elizabeth opt for reconstructive surgery, which works to give a women a form back.
Elizabeth, " I really was uncomfortable with mastectomy's in general they're brutal. they're very disfiguring and I thought i was pretty young to have to go thru that.
Until she met Dr. Ritter, who walked her through every step of the process...and even shared some of the new techniques available to women.
Dr. Ritter, "in many of those breast we can salvage and get much better results by taking those implants out and replacing those implants with their own tissue.
We have a number of patients from outside the area, because of the techniques we offer with the free flap breast reconstruction who had problems with implants."
While doctors cannot completely prevent cancer, many procedures can greatly reduce the risk of developing the disease.... that's why Elizabeth is sharing her story. she did all she could to remain cancer free even though she she has a family history.