‘Next month, I’m getting a double mastectomy. I’m only 24’

Kaylee, left, and her mom. (Photo: Courtesy of Kaylee Denmead)

(Joy Online) — The following is the personal story of Kaylee Denmead, as told to Abby Haglage. Denmead will be getting a preventive double mastectomy in November because she has tested positive for a gene mutation called BRCA1, which greatly raises her chances of developing some form of breast cancer in her lifetime.

Last month, my friends and I rented a studio, hired a photographer, and took photos shirtless — a “boob photo shoot,” we called it, playfully. In one sense, it was just a fun chance to embrace our bodies, but in another sense, it was something bigger — a way to preserve the past.

That’s because this November, I’m getting a preventive double mastectomy. I’m only 24.

I’m not ever going to pretend that I’m not scared — I am scared. But I have no doubt this decision is the right one. In many ways, I’ve been preparing for it since I was 18. That’s when doctors told me I had something called a BRCA1 mutation, an altered gene that means there is a 72 percent chance that I’ll get breast cancerby the time I turn 80 (for the average woman, it’s 12 percent). (…)

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