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EDITIONS
Saturday, 9 November, 2002, 01:08 GMT
'I am losing my breasts to avoid cancer'
Vikki Jones
Vikki has a family history of breast cancer

In ten months Vikki Jones is set to have a double mastectomy.

Vikki does not have cancer, but does have a family history of the disease and is terrified that if she doesn't take this drastic step that breast cancer will rob her young children of their mother.

Her mother died aged just 41 after contracting the disease in her early 30s.

Then just three years ago Vikki's sister also got breast cancer and needed a mastectomy, just before she was 37.

Action

Now Vikki, 32, is determined to take action rather than wait and worry that she too will get it.

"I was very young when my mum died and I did not want that to happen to my children.


I feel nervous and I get times when I think what am I doing

Vikki Jones

"There is quite a good chance of me getting it and I did not want to wait for it."

Vikki, from Kent, said it had been a difficult decision to make and one that she had taken with the full support of medical staff and after lots of psychological testing and counselling.

"Because my chances were a lot higher, I thought about it and considered all the options and came to the decision. My husband supported me, because this was the best option for me.

"I have looked up a lot of information and I have seen lots of pictures.

"I am now quite blasť about it because it has been in my mind for quite some time."

She said she was well aware that the operation and recovery would be painful.

"The only real experience was when my sister had a mastectomy and she told me how much it hurt. But I am sure it will be OK."

Operation

Vikki said that the thought of the operation, scheduled for next September at Guy's Hospital, London, did fill her with fear. But she said that she was worried that even regular screening might not pick up a cancer until it was too late.

"I feel nervous and I get times when I think 'what am I doing?'.

"When my sister got it they didn't think she had a tumour, just that she had pre-cancerous cells.

"But then they took off the breast and found that she had a massive tumour."


I was very young when my mum died and I did not want that to happen to my children

Vikki Jones

Vikki, who works in nursing recruitment for the NHS, said that she had the full support of the family, particularly her husband Phil, although she admitted that he had been doubtful originally.

She has told her daughter Milly, who is four, that she will be going into hospital. Tate, aged just 19 months, is too young to understand.

"Milly knows there is something going on and she doesn't want me to go to hospital. We will have to explain to her when she gets older because she is a girl and this will affect her."

Having the operation will reduce Vikki's chances of getting breast cancer to just 1% from between 50-60%.

If she were not keeping her nipples and the breast tissue behind them then the risk factor would be reduced even further.

See also:

17 Oct 02 | Health
19 Jul 00 | Health
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