Jewish Health

Karin - Interview 28

Age at interview: 39

Brief outline: Karin found out she was a BRCA1 mutation carrier four years ago. She has had a double mastectomy and her ovaries removed.

Background: Karin works as a director/administrator. She is married and has one child. Ethnic background/nationality: Jewish

Audio & video

Karin found out four years ago, that her mother’s side of the family were BRCA carriers. Some members of her family had withheld this information which has caused a family rift. Karin went through the screening process which she describes as “amazing”; the information, the support and the lack of pressure as to what to do. She found out she was carrying the mutation and her risk of getting breast cancer was around 90%. Karin, with the support of her husband, chose to have a double mastectomy “within about 20 seconds” of getting her results. She opted for a bilateral deep which involves using tissues from the stomach to reconstruct the breasts. This was major surgery which involved several weeks of recovery, but Karin and her husband preferred this option to having implants. The decision to have her ovaries removed was more difficult but both Karin and her husband decided that they would not have any more children and the surgery was done as soon as possible. 

Karin feels that the experience has been very positive. She has been proactive, very well supported and informed by health professionals and now has “new boobs and a tummy tuck”. She is very concerned about whether or not she has passed on the mutation to her daughter who is now 8 years old. Her daughter will enter a screening process when she turns 18. Karin feels it is very important to talk about these experiences with other people and to realise that you are not alone.  


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