Recently, actress Christina Applegate had a double mastectomy after learning that she had breast cancer, a disease her mother twice suffered and survived. Although many questioned her decision, Applegate insisted that she had the procedure done for her own peace of mind. The procedure, which may be viewed as drastic by many is becoming more common, especially in women with a predisposition to breast cancer.
Lindsay Avner, had a double mastectomy done when she was 23 years old. After Avner’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, Avner found that she was genetically predisposed to the disease. Her grandmother and great grandmother had lost their own battles with the disease. Avner decided to take control of her life and had the procedure done, a decision she is still proud of today.
“Having the surgery really brought my old self back. I was happy again. I felt relieved. I felt as though the weight had been lifted from my shoulders. That dark cloud was no longer following me.”
But Avner did not stop there. Today, at 27, she is Founder and Executive Director of a non-profit organization, called Bright Pink, that educates women about breast cancer and ovarian cancer . The organization empowers women with breast cancer or ovarian cancer through education and information on how to take control of their lives before they become a statistic.
Bright Pink provides such a support system for women that they have e-mail reminders to follow through with self-exams. Unlike years ago, women today have more options and the ability to detect the cancer than ever before. The organization provides a safe community for women who have also undergone or are considering a double mastectomy.
“I really wanted to go out there and make sure that other young women who are going through a similar experience felt as though they had a community that was uniquely their own,” says Avner. “(A place) that understood what they were going through, that was there always to listen no matter what time of the day or night.”
The organization recently started a “Peer Support” project called “PinkPal,” that pairs participants with someone who can provide advice and emotional support to them as they consider options for themselves. “We actually pair up a woman that is considering genetic testing or who’s having a surgery with someone who’s already walked in their shoes and who’s already been there," says Avner
Bright Pink has partnered with and is currently being sponsored by "Dove" and "Whole Foods Market" to raise money for education and support programs for breast cancer.
In 2007, Avner was nominated and featured under the "Young People Who Rock" series on CNN. Find out how you too can help support women in your life and be Bright Pink!
To learn more about Bright Pink, you can visit their website, http://www.bebrightpink.org. Learn how you can volunteer or donate to the cause.
Would you consider having a double mastectomy if you knew you were predisposed to breast cancer?