SurvivorNet — a website dedicated to helping people dealing with cancer and other chronic illnesses — recently shared my breast cancer story. I’ve never been shy about sharing my experience fighting for a preventative mastectomy and was happy to see SurvivorNet using it to provide others with information about their options when it comes to breast cancer.
I’m happy to share their article here and the full post is available from SurvivorNet.
Baby Doctor for Rihanna & Kardashians Got Preventative Mastectomy Only To Learn She Already Had Cancer
The OBGYN doctor who helped singer Rihanna and reality TV star Khloe Kardashian give birth made a bold decision regarding her own health. She made the emotional decision to undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy after calculating her own breast cancer risk. Little did she know at the time, her aggressive approach to stave off the onset of cancer proved to be crucial.
Dr. Thais Aliabadi detailed her journey in a blog that lays out her decision to schedule herself for an elective double mastectomy against her doctor’s opinion. A double mastectomy is a procedure that removes both breasts. Sometimes, women choose to undergo this procedure to reduce their breast cancer risk especially if they have a family history of the disease.
“I had no family history of breast cancer, no genetic mutations, no cancerous biopsies, and normal mammograms, ultrasounds, and MRIs before surgery. But I scheduled my own prophylactic (preventative) bilateral mastectomy anyway,” Dr. Aliabadi wrote.
Dr. Aliabadi calculated her own cancer risk by assessing a few things.
She said she previously had two pre-cancerous biopsies, she had dense breast tissue which means the breasts contain more glandular and fibrous tissue than fatty breast tissue. Taking these potential risk factors into account, Dr. Aliabadi calculated her breast cancer risk.
To her surprise, after undergoing the mastectomy, Dr. Aliabadi discovered she already had stage 1 breast cancer.
“To everyone’s surprise, my pathology report came back positive for stage 1 breast cancer. Wait!!! What??? Me??? I was shocked,” she wrote with astonishment.
Stage 1 breast cancers are relatively small; they either have not spread to the lymph nodes or only a small area of cancer has spread to the sentinel lymph node. Treatment will likely be surgery and radiation following surgery, along with chemotherapy or some other therapy. For women whose breast cancer is hormone receptor-positive doctors will also recommend hormone therapy. For HER2-positive cancers, the drug Herceptin will be recommended.
Dr. Aliabadi says she chose to share her story to educate women on the importance of staying current with their breast cancer screenings.
“I went forward with a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy to avoid cancer, not knowing that I already had stage 1 breast cancer in my right breast. Scary, isn’t it,” she added.
What Goes into Deciding to Get a Mastectomy?
When a woman decides to have a mastectomy, several factors go into that decision. Among things to consider is whether to have breast-conserving surgery such as a lumpectomy. These decisions should be made alongside your doctor by having an open and candid discussion about risks vs. benefits.
“A double mastectomy typically takes about two hours for the cancer part of the operation, the removing of the tissue,” Dr. Elisa Port, Chief of Breast Surgery at Mount Sinai Health System, tells SurvivorNet. “The real length, the total length of the surgery, can often depend on what type of reconstruction [a patient] has.”
Other factors that weigh into the decision to get a mastectomy are the size and features of the tumor and your family history. However, the gravity of your decision comes into full view especially if you choose to get a mastectomy and remove both of your breasts.
Dr. Thais Aliabadi: one of LA’s top OB/GYNs
For Dr Thais Aliabadi, a woman’s sexual health is one of the most powerful ways to protect her overall well-being. Her philosophy of care is to build trust, openness, and tight alliances with each of her patients. In this way, she can lift the shroud of secrecy behind questions like “Do labia shrink with age?” or “Is labia darkening with age normal?” and help women overcome painful conditions.
We invite you to establish care with Dr. Aliabadi. Please make an appointment or call us at (844) 863-6700.
The practice of Dr. Thais Aliabadi is ranked as one of the top gynecology centers in the country. We are conveniently located for patients throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area, near Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, Culver City, Hollywood, Venice, Marina del Rey, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, and Downtown Los Angeles, to name a few.