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Woman makes decision to remove breasts, plans further surgery to cut cancer risk

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Jayne Miller Jayne Miller
Two years after cancer took her mother, Jayne herself was tested this summer. Two years after cancer took her mother, Jayne herself was tested this summer.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – WAVE 3 News has reported on the radical means some women were going to in an effort to keep themselves cancer-free.

A Louisville woman made the difficult choice to not only have a preventive double mastectomy, but says she will also have her ovaries removed in the future because she carries the genetic mutation that increases her risk for breast and ovarian cancers.

Jayne Miller is sharing the story of that choice that may not be right for everyone, because she's hoping someone can learn from it. 

Pictures provide markers of our memories. Among the smiles and milestones in her childhood photographs, Miller sees something else.

"We were so happy and they had no idea," she said.  "My poor mom, she was just so beautiful and she never knew until it was too late that she carried that gene."

In 2003, her mother Anne found out she had ovarian cancer

"They gave her six months to live at that point," Jayne said. "She ended up lasting 8 years."

In 2005, Anne learned her body had turned on her before she was born.

"I can remember her coming home and she had this big stack of papers and she said, 'I think you need to know what I found out today,'" Jayne said.

Anne carried the genetic mutation that puts people at a higher risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer and Jayne has always been like her mother.

"I knew in my heart that I had this gene mutation," she said.  "I just felt it in my gut ever since she told me she had it. She and I were just so much alike; I just figured that I probably had it -- even though it's only a 50-50 chance."

Two years after cancer took her mother, Jayne herself was tested this summer.

"I want to save my life," she said, adding she also wanted to give meaning to her mom's suffering.  "Why did I lose my mom so young and this doesn't explain why but it can at least help me put some purpose in her experience because of her testing, I knew to get tested and I can save my own life and she can help me save it even though she's not here anymore."

The tests confirmed she carried the gene and even though she didn't have cancer, she had both of her breasts removed last month.

In the next few years, she also plans on removing her ovaries.

"I mean I have to have those surgeries," Jayne said. "I never want to suffer the way she did and I want to do it for my future children and I don't want her experience or anyone else's experience to be in vain."

Jayne says she's sharing her story for one purpose. She wants you to know what the BRCA mutations can mean. "There is just nothing good that came out of any of it and I feel like this is my chance to try to help someone else," she said.

Among the facts Jayne wants to share is this from the national cancer institute: the BRCA mutations may also be linked to fallopian and peritoneal cancer in women as well as prostate cancer in men and pancreatic cancer in both sexes.

Jayne has documented her journey and what she's learned in her blog, including some very personal and intimate photographs. You can find it by clicking here.

Learn more about the BRCA1 and BRCA1 mutations on the National Cancer Institute's website by clicking here.

Genetic testing is something you should discuss with your doctor to see if it even makes sense, given your family history.

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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