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Updated: 7:01 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 | Posted: 4:31 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012
New research shows more women at risk for breast cancer are making a dramatic decision to have a preventive mastectomy.
Laura Klehm Sago, of Scott Township, is one of them.
She had a preventative double mastectomy two weeks ago.
“It was kind of a no-brainer for me because I have four kids, a husband,” she said. “I want to be there to take care of my kids.”
Sago does not have breast cancer but her mother and two sisters did. She constantly worried she would be next.
“Every six months I have to have a mammogram or breast MRI, so it's constantly in the back of my mind and I'm always worrying, what are the results going to be?,” she explained.
She and her husband weighed her options for three years before reaching this decision.
“I am a lot calmer, I have a peace about me,” she said of her surgery.
The latest PCH4 report shows more women in Pennsylvania are choosing this preventive procedure. While 94 women had this surgery done in 2002, the number jumped to 455 in 2011.
“For the individual woman after she's concerned all the options, for her it may be the best,” said Dr. Kathleen Erb, a breast surgeon at Allegheny General Hospital.
She said many women are choosing to have this surgery because they may have a history of breast cancer in one breast, or carry the breast cancer gene.
Others, like Sago, have a family history.
“They just feel like there's this black cloud over their head and that one of these days, that's going to turn to into cancer,” said Erb.
She also said the quality of reconstructive surgery and techniques has improved, making more women comfortable with their decision.
The decision was not easy for Sago but she said the surgery brings her some relief, some hope.
“It's just put me at peace knowing that I'll be here to take care of my sisters, my mother, my kids and my husband,” she said.
Erb notes that preventive mastectomy is just one option, and that it is important for women to understand all of their choices before making a decision.
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