Karin ' Interview 28- Jewish Health

Age at interview: 39
Brief Outline: Karin found out she was a BRCA1 mutation carrier four years ago. She has had a double mastectomy and her ovaries removed.
Background: Karin works as a director/administrator. She is married and has one child. Ethnic background/nationality' Jewish

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After discovering a genetic predisposition which meant she had a higher than average chance of...

After discovering a genetic predisposition which meant she had a higher than average chance of...


 I didn’t have the 90% figure when I got my results. I had a, I think we were up to about 70 at that point. But even with that, there was no question [name] was three and a half at the time, yes, she was about three. So I didn’t have a choice because I was 35 or 36 and I had a baby.

So you had no choice other than to have the mastectomy?
Well, I felt I had no choice. Everyone makes their own decision but for me, I had to do some, if I had an opportunity to do something, I didn’t want to actually ever run the risk of regretting it because I didn’t want to do it, or I’d do it in a few years time, or finding an excuse. I wanted to actually deal with it, and deal with it now. So after my genetics appointment they made me an appointment with the breast surgeon.
I went to see him, he was very nice, we started discussing what form of surgery we’d go for, and he said, “Well you need to do plast… see plastics, because I opted for a bilateral DIEP, which is basically moving the tissue from the stomach to the breast. And it’s more a plastics job than a breast job.
I don’t know whether I would, it would always be a concern. If I wouldn’t have been genetically screened, it would always be a question, because of my family history. If I’d been genetically screened and not done, not had surgery, I think I’d be very anxious, I’d be a very different person. Because one’s breasts change and you feel things, and, I mean even now I know, I know what my breast feels like, but it’s different to the way it used to feel, and you feel different things. And you would just always wonder. Yes, is this lump, is this cyst, is this… whatever and you don’t know. I would do it again tomorrow. I would say, if you’re in doubt, speak to your doctor. Go and get tested, and take it from there, because the support is out there. Because it’s such a specialised thing, the people who support you are knowledgeable and they know what the best thing is for you which may not necessarily be surgery. It may not be the sort of person who can deal with that, and you can deal with having to wake up every day and wonder. Always a sort of a time bomb because you don’t know. It’s like Russian roulette. You don’t know whenever your time’s up.
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