Allyn Rose, Miss District of Columbia in the 2012 Miss America Pageant, has opted for a radical double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer even though she is only 24-years-old. And, she doesn’t even have cancer!
The blonde beauty said she made the decision after discovering she is genetically predisposed to breast cancer. Her mother as well as several relatives have died from the disease.
“Breasts don’t define your life. I’m choosing life over beauty… I’m not going to let my fear of losing this part of my femininity stop me from living,” she told People magazine.
More women are opting for the radical surgical procedure as a preventative treatment for cancer. Sharon Osbourne, the wife of rock star Ozzy Osbourne, recently revealed that she had a double mastectomy for the same reason. But she is in her 60s.
Among celebrities, Robin Roberts and Giuliana Rancic have also both recently battled breast cancer.
Rose says she decided to undergo the procedure at such a young age because her mother contracted breast cancer when she was 27. She underwent a single mastectomy on her right breast and was successfully treated. But the cancer recurred in her other breast and she died from it at 47.
Allyn said she was only 16 at the time. Since then, she’s worked with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Tigerlilly Foundation and Dig Pink, to educate young people about breast cancer.
“My father and I have met with a surgeon and countless doctors. Some of them are wary because I don’t have breast cancer and I am so young, but others have said it’s a very smart move, especially for someone who is genetically predisposed,” she said.
About 75 percent of women with the targeted genetic makeup develop breast cancer, while a double mastectomy can reduce the chances of the disease developing by 90 percent. “It’s a very strange change in our genetic code. Almost all of the women in my family have passed away from it,” she said.
The Miss America pageant will air on ABC on Jan. 12, pitting 53 contestants against each other for the right to wear the crown. If she wins, Allyn says she’ll wait until after her pageant duties end in 2014 to have the surgery.