Voices of FORCE

There are so many stories on FORCE and so many members willing to share their experiences. We hope these profiles can help you connect with our community and get advice from people like you!

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Melissa, San Diego, CA

Quick Info About Me


Age: 33

I'm BRCA positive and had a prophylactic double mastectomy in Feb. 2009.

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My journey

I discovered my BRCA gene in August 2008. I began having yearly mammograms at the age of 21, due to a strong family history of breast cancer. My mother had breast cancer at age 34, my grandmother in her 40s, and my great-grandmother in her 50s. As I approached the age of my mother's onset of breast cancer, I decided to be tested for the gene, and I was positive for BRCA 2.

After a long search for the right plastic surgeon, I underwent a prophylactic double mastectomy in Feb 2009 and breast reconstruction in August 2009, just before my 33rd birthday. My mother, a nurse and breast cancer survivor herself, was by my side the entire time. Now, a year after my mastectomy and seven months after my breast reconstruction, I couldn't be happier!

The hardest part of my journey

Though the decision to have a mastectomy was difficult, the procedure itself was definitely the hardest part. I did not expect the difficulties surrounding that procedure, but with my family and boyfriend's support, I made it through!

If I could do it over again

Nope. I am so happy with my new breasts. They are even better than the originals!

My participation with FORCE

I discovered FORCE after my surgeries, but I am happy to know that there are others out there who I might be able to support by sharing my own experiences.

Other thoughts

Please feel free to contact me if you are considering a prophylactic mastectomy and breast reconstruction. I would love to share my story with you and offer you any support that I can.

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered