BOSTON (CBS) – Bethany Cove says she has no regrets.
“If there is anything you could do to prevent cancer you’d want to do that,” Cove says.
She had two major surgeries by choice; a double mastectomy at age 35 and a hysterectomy last year at 41, all to avoid cancer.
“As far as I was concerned they were ticking time bombs on my chest and needed to come off and it was an easy decision for me,” she says.
Her story is just like Angelina Jolie’s story. And watching the superstar go public with her very private choices to remove her breasts and her ovaries is empowering for this Lynn woman.
“I think her decision is brave and to put it out in the public is fantastic,” she says.
Both Jolie and Cove have mutated BRCA genes, meaning, their chance to develop cancers of the breast are 80 percent and the ovarian cancer risk is about 40 percent. And for Bethany, it was very personal; four of aunts had breast cancer young, two of them died.
Cove says, “My aunt Frannie was diagnosed at 35, so when my second aunt was diagnosed at 45, it was like why did that happen again?”
Dr. Judy Garber of Dana Farber says, “Young women, in particular, who find they often have this kind of inherited risk often chose surgery, rather than waiting a lifetime for something to happen.”
Cove says, “My risk went in one day, from 87 percent risk of getting breast cancer, to two or three percent and that’s much more tolerable for me.”
Women with a family history of these cancers are typically the ones who chose to have the genetic testing. One thing that helped Bethany was FORCE, or Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, an organization where you can hear all about your options.