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Taking drastic steps to avoid breast cancer - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Taking drastic steps to avoid breast cancer

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NEW YORK -

Sherice Torres, 39, found out she carried the BRCA gene mutation three years ago.

"My mother is a three-time cancer survivor and her first incident was in her early 30s. So, we knew I was at high risk of developing breast cancer myself," Torres said.

The average woman has a 12 percent risk of developing breast cancer at some point in her life. Women who inherit the breast cancer gene mutation have a more than a 60 percent increased risk for the disease.

Like Angelina Jolie, Torres chose to have a double mastectomy to lower her cancer risk. The mother of two also had her ovaries taken out.

"I did this for myself, I did it for my family, I did it so my children would have a mother when they grew up," she said.

Doctors recommend the BRCA gene test for people who have a strong personal or family history of breast cancer. The blood test can run in the thousands.

Women who don't want surgery have the option of undergoing aggressive screening, but Lenox Hill's Doctor Stephanie Bernik says surgery gives patients the best chance to lower their cancer risk.

"The decision for some women is extremely easier, other women the decision is very difficult," Bernik said.

Torres waited 10 years before having the test done.

"I didn't want to know and I think waiting as long as I did is the biggest mistake I made," she said.

Torres doesn't want other at risk women to put it off like she did.

Women who inherit the BRCA gene mutation are at a 15 percent to 40 percent increased risk for ovarian cancer.

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