Upstate woman shares double mastectomy story - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate woman shares double mastectomy story

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Charly Schroeder knows what it feels like to care for those who are at the end of their lives. She's the co-owner of Interim Hospice, a service that provides care for those who are sick and provides support for their families. She said family is everything to her, so when her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was concerned.

"She had almost zero risk factors that we would have thought of," Schroeder said.

She began to ask her mother about their family tree.

"All but my mom and grandmother either had breast cancer or had died of breast cancer, and so that kind of led us to investigate this a little bit more," Schroeder said.

That's when she decided to get tested to see if she had an abnormal breast cancer gene, which is a mutation identified as a BRCA1 mutation. It's a mutation that increases the risk of breast cancer. And after consulting doctors because of the high risk, Schroeder decided to have a double mastectomy.

"For me, the surgery gave me such tremendous piece of mind," Schroeder said.

Dr. Brian McKinley is a surgical oncologist with the Breast Health Center, which is part of the Greenville Health System.

"The best thing for me would be if I had to go find another job and that I don't have to do surgery for cancer," McKinley said.

But since that's not the case, he stresses prevention. He said potential candidates for the surgery should go through risk assessment and then a genetics counseling process before making a decision.

"If they then are shown to have a mutation in one of the important breast cancer genes, then using some computer modeling we can give an estimate of the likelihood that she might develop breast cancer throughout her life," McKinley said.

It's a decision that gave Schroeder courage to share her story. She said she doesn't want women to be scared and believes it's important for both men and women to educate themselves.

"I just think we have to have faith with whatever path we end up on," Schroeder said.

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