Fear of breast cancer is many women’s number one fear. A 1995 Gallup poll found that 40 percent of women believe they will die of breast cancer, even though the actual risk of death from the disease is less than 4 percent.
Today, many women with a family history of breast cancer are opting for genetic testing to determine whether they carry the abnormal breast cancer genes one (BRCA1) or two (BRC2). When the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are healthy, the body is more likely to hinder breast cancer cell growth. When these same women test positive for the (mutated) breast cancer gene, many are opting for a preventative bilateral mastectomy (the removal of two, usually healthy, breasts). This is happening more and more, even though only five to ten percent of all new breast cancers occur in women who carry the gene!