2 local women made same decision as Jolie to cut cancer risk - New York News

2 metro Detroit women made same decision as Jolie to cut cancer risk

Posted: Updated:
Like Angelina Jolie, metro Detroit mom Anita Fabian had a double mastectomy. Like Angelina Jolie, metro Detroit mom Anita Fabian had a double mastectomy.
TROY, Mich. (WJBK) -

One of Hollywood's biggest stars told the world Tuesday about her decision to undergo a double mastectomy. Angelina Jolie said she did it to cut her risk of breast cancer, and she is not alone. Two local women made a similar choice.

Anita Fabian is a mother of three who had a double mastectomy and her fallopian tubes and ovaries removed after genetic testing showed she is predisposed to breast and ovarian cancer.

"My mom had cancer when I was 13, and she died when I just turned 25," Fabian explained. "I didn't want my babies to be without a mom."

The genetic testing and double mastectomy are the same procedure Jolie just revealed she underwent to prevent the possibility of getting the same cancer that killed her mother.

"Genetic counseling is extremely important because these are complicated decisions," said Beaumont oncologist Dr. Dana Zakalik.

The doctor said those with early onset breast or ovarian cancer or a family history should be tested. If positive for the BRCA gene mutation, a 60 to 85 percent chance of getting breast cancer can be reduced to around five to eight percent.

"If you do bilateral mastectomies, if you choose to do that, that you really are doing the most that you can possibly do to reduce your risk of breast cancer," Zakalik said.

But a preventive mastectomy is no guarantee the cancer will be prevented as I learned two years ago when I did a story with a local wife and mother who fought so courageously, but still couldn't win.

"We did everything humanly possible, and I still lost my wife," said Don Neilson. "We were aggressive as humanly possible, and I still lost her."

He lost his wife, Amy, just one year ago. She beat breast cancer once. A carrier of the BRCA gene, she had both breasts removed along with her ovaries and fallopian tubes trying to steer clear of the cancer that had killed her mother and grandmother.

"The sad thing is... they told me after this surgery she had two percent chance of getting it back," Neilson said.

They thought she was home free, then she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She fought valiantly, blogged about her battle, and told her story to help others.

"Just be aware that it's never a hundred percent," she told Fox 2 before her death.

Still, Dr. Zakalik said what happened to Amy is very rare. So know your family history.  The genetic testing and the preventative measures can be the difference between life and death.

"I'd rather live and see my babies get married and have grand kids versus what my mom did," Fabain said.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Tyga calls for Empire State Building to go gold

    Tyga calls for Empire State Building to go gold

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:37:52 GMT
    The push to go gold for pediatric cancer has spread to the hip hop world. Popular rapper Tyga is joining those calling for the Empire State Building to light up for a good cause.
    The push to go gold for pediatric cancer has spread to the hip hop world. Popular rapper Tyga is joining those calling for the Empire State Building to light up for a good cause.
  • Christie talks casinos, Springsteen at town hall

    Christie talks casinos, Springsteen at town hall

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:49 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:49:34 GMT
    Gov. Chris Christie of New JerseyGov. Chris Christie of New Jersey
    Gov. Chris Christie talked Atlantic City casinos and defended his use of Bruce Springsteen music in the latest installment of his summer "No Pain, No Gain" town hall series on Tuesday. Many previous events have featured protests by retirees and labor groups as well as Atlantic City casino workers urging Christie to do more to save their jobs following a series of announced closures.
    Gov. Chris Christie talked Atlantic City casinos and defended his use of Bruce Springsteen music in the latest installment of his summer "No Pain, No Gain" town hall series on Tuesday. Many previous events have featured protests by retirees and labor groups as well as Atlantic City casino workers urging Christie to do more to save their jobs following a series of announced closures.
  • Foley wins Connecticut Independent Party backing

    Foley wins Connecticut Independent Party backing

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:35 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:35:03 GMT
    Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley has won the endorsement of the Independent Party of Connecticut, securing a second spot on the November ballot. Foley's campaign confirmed the Greenwich businessman won the third party's endorsement at Tuesday night's party caucus.
    Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley has won the endorsement of the Independent Party of Connecticut, securing a second spot on the November ballot. Foley's campaign confirmed the Greenwich businessman won the third party's endorsement at Tuesday night's party caucus.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices