A woman of 20 is to become one of the youngest ever to have her breasts and ovaries voluntarily removed because of a family history of cancer.
Yasmin Ross will undergo a double mastectomy after testing positive for an aggressive breast cancer gene, which doctors have warned means she is up to 90 per cent more likely to develop the disease.
Yasmin has also made the heartbreaking decision to have her ovaries removed after tests revealed that she is up to 60 per cent more likely to develop ovarian cancer.
Precaution: Yasmin Ross, 20, is going to have her breasts and ovaries removed as she has an aggressive cancer gene
The part-time belly dancing teacher said there was ‘never any doubt’ about having both removed as a precaution.
‘Quite simply, I don’t want to get cancer and this is the lesser of two evils,’ she added. ‘Some women take the chance that they won’t get it – one or two may be lucky and are in their 50s and are still OK.
‘But my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 32 and I know others in their 20s who get it, so it does happen.
‘I am erring on the side of caution because it seems to be affecting my family earlier and earlier. My geneticist was in favour of me having my breasts removed no later than between the ages of 25 and 28.
‘No woman looks forward to having her breasts removed and I’m blessed with quite a nice pair, which makes it worse.
‘But having surgery is my only option. People say I’m brave, but I’m just so scared of getting cancer. I’m actually taking the easy way out.’
Yasmin, from St Germans, Cornwall, discovered she had inherited the faulty BRAC2 gene from her father after undergoing tests two years ago. It came after her aunt Brenda lost her battle against breast cancer aged 47 in August 2007, while her grandfather Frank died from the rare male form of the disease a year later.
Awful choice: Yasmin Ross inherited the faulty BRAC2 gene from her father, and will now undergo painful surgery
To complicate matters, Yasmin has also been diagnosed with Ehlers- Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which changes the way the body heals.
The condition, which affects about one in 5,000 in the UK, leaves collagen proteins, such as muscles, weakened with sufferers experiencing stretchy skin, loose joints and fragile tissues.
It means that after she has her breast removal operation this summer, the dancer may not be able to have reconstructive surgery.
‘The EDS is a default in the make-up of my body’s collagen and I don’t heal very well,’ she said. ‘So if I have my breasts reconstructed there is a greater chance the implants will slip and cause damage to my muscles.
‘Someone who undergoes a double mastectomy usually recovers in six to 12 weeks, but I’ve been told it could take me 12 months because the tissue is so fragile. It’s not easy surgery.
‘I am a DD and I would have liked a B cup after reconstruction. It does upset me that it may not be possible but it’s better than getting cancer.’
Yasmin, who will next weekend star in a charity fundraiser for the National Hereditary Breast Cancer helpline, has decided not to freeze her eggs before having her ovaries removed, but plans to adopt or foster in the future.
She said last night: ‘There are a lot of women who have familial breast cancer but who don’t know that they’ve got the gene.
‘At least I know and I can do something about it.
‘I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones because I received a diagnosis so early on.’
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