Arizona woman undergoes mast­ectomies in San Antonio

Surgery broa­dcasted via Twitter

After testing positive for the breast cancer gene, Angelina Jolie elected to have a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

On Wednesday, an Arizona woman decided to have the same procedure done and she traveled all the way to San Antonio's Methodist Hospital for the surgery.

Methodist Hospital tweeted the procedure in hopes of spreading awareness of preventive mastectomies.

Melissa Ray, 39, of Arizona say she watched her mother struggle with breast cancer for years.

"I have a significant family history of breast cancer on my mother's side," said Ray. "My great grandmother, grandmother, mother and four aunts."

And, because of her family history, Ray's doctor, Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo, recommended that she get the breast cancer gene test.

Ray got screened in 2011 and it came back positive for BRCA1, the breast cancer gene.

Ray, who has a 7-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, said she knew she had to do something to make sure she would be around for her children.

After a lot of research, she decided to undergo a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery at Methodist Hospital.

"I'm doing this today because I want to help women like me to know that there's options out there," said Ray. "And, this option is not for everybody, but it's important to consider that especially when we have this high risk and there is something you can do about it."

Dr. Chrysopoulo said more and more women, who have a family history of breast cancer, are not only opting to get tested for the breast cancer gene, but they are also going through with this procedure.

"The procedure we are performing today, the preventive mastectomies in conjunction with breast reconstruction that's going to reduce her risk of breast cancer up to 99 percent," said Chrysopoulo.

Dr. Chrysopoulo said Wednesday that women who test positive for the breast cancer gene do not have to choose surgery. He said they can choose to be monitored more closely or to take preventative medications.

However, he said that going through with the mastectomy and breast reconstruction at the same time can reduce the risk by more than 90 percent.

For a list of recent stories Stephanie Serna has done, click here.


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