PINK UP: Woman calls decision to have preventative double mastectomy 'best option'

Pink Up: Woman calls preventative double mastectomy 'best option'
Published: Oct. 11, 2016 at 3:22 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2016 at 11:09 AM CDT
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(Source: Nichole Cartmell/KFVS)
(Source: Nichole Cartmell/KFVS)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Imagine being told you have a 60 percent chance of developing cancer.

That was a reality for Beth Bohnsack.

Bohnsack tested positive for the CHEK2 gene mutation which is the same gene mutation her mother had.

According to the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center, women with the CHEK2 gene mutation have an increased risk of breast cancer.

The risk may be higher depending on family history.

This was true in Bohnsack's case.

Her mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer three years ago.

By the time it was caught, the cancer had already spread to her lung and spine.

Bohnsack remembers the day she found out like it was yesterday.

"Hearing when my mom had stage 4, I hung up the phone and I cried and I was already thinking," Bohnsack said. "I remember my mom told me where the rings were are that she wants to give us when she passes. I was already planning the funeral in my mind."

Over the course of the last few years, Bohnsack had several cancer scares.

Thankfully, all of the tests came back benign.

As a mother of twin 4-year-old boys, her worst fear was that her boys would have to take that call one day.

"What if I die at a young age and don't see my boys grow up?" Bohnsack explained.

Bohnsack was given two options.

The first was to be high risk monitored, which would include invasive testing every six months.

Her second option was to have a prophylactic mastectomy, essentially a preventative double mastectomy.

She chose the latter.

"I was prepared mentally, physically, spiritually to have it," Bohnsack said. "And to take that burden off my shoulders of wondering what if."

Bohnsack said her doctors told her that the double mastectomy would lower her chances of getting breast cancer to less than 5 percent.

In April 2016, Bohnsack had the procedure to remove her breasts.

It was not easy.

"4 drainage tubes..." Bohnsack explained. "It took me almost three weeks to be able to pull my hair back into a pony tail."

But, Bohnsack says she couldn't imagine being sick at the same time.

"I was beneficial from being healthy and young and not having to do chemo and radiation," Bohnsack said. "I couldn't imagine being a woman my age, having breast cancer and having the surgery. I can't imagine what that would be like."

Now, seven months later, Bohnsack can smile at ease.

Her mother is kicking cancer's butt. She is two years in remission.

Beth is had her final surgery in September and now calls herself a "previvor."

"To know that I will be there when they have kids and they turn five," Bohnsack said. "I mean, that's why I did this. I don't want to miss out on anything with them."

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