A Miss America contestant will undergo a double mastectomy to head-off breast cancer. Allyn Rose, 24, lost her mother to the disease eight years ago and, after finding out that she carries the gene linked to an increase risk of breast cancer, decided to have the operation that may save her life.
“Breasts don’t define your life. I’m choosing life over beauty … I’m not going to let me fear of losing this part of my femininity stop me from living,” Rose told People magazine in an interview about her decision.
Rose will be representing Washington, D.C. in the pageant, which is set to start Jan. 12. She has decided to undergo treatment next June. If she wins the pageant, however, she has decided to postpone it until Jan. 2013.
Some doctors, according to Rose, have suggested for her to wait, since she does not yet have cancer. Her mother, however, was first diagnosed at the age of 27, when she had her right breast removed. The cancer returned when her mother was in her forties, this time to her left breast, and she died when Rose was 16.
Rose says that her mother’s decision not to get the double mastectomy when the cancer first appeared was “ultimately the thing that killed her.”
Alhough resolved to undergo the treatment, Rose admitted that she is nervous about what her body will look like after the procedure. “The idea that I could wake up one day and not have the same body that I did the day before is very scary,” she told People.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women incur some form of breast cancer and one in 36 die from the disease. There are over 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.