The Preventive Mastectomy: Two Women, Two Choices

Jun 4, 2013

A Preventive Mastectomy at 31

When actress Angelina Jolie told the world she’d elected to have a preventive double mastectomy, people paid attention. For Nell Boeschenstein, the story was personal. “You know when you have your breasts taken off, your insecurities can kind of take over. To have the most womanly-woman in the world come out and say that was just hugely moving," Nell says.  Like Angelina Jolie, Nell carries the BRCA-1 gene, significantly increasing her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. After her aunt and sister developed breast cancer, Nell had a preventive double mastectomy at 31 years old.

Also in this show, Dr. Daniela Drake was diagnosed with LCIS, which she describes as more of a “marker” for breast cancer than actual breast cancer. She felt her risk was small, and so Daniela was surprised when her doctor recommended a preventive mastectomy. She decided not to have the procedure, and talks with Dick Gordon about other methods of disease prevention, and what she sees as the practice of defensive medicine.   Listen to these conversations on The Story's site