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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A Warner Robins mom says she has a family history of breast cancer, and is making sure history doesn’t repeat itself. Victoria Sanders hasn’t been diagnosed with breast cancer, but she’s taking precautions by having a double mastectomy.
After Sanders lost both sisters to cancer she wanted to prevent it from happening to her. She says she’s funny about the word, “lucky.” It’s not for someone else to tell you, rather it’s for you to realize about yourself. Today, Sanders is calling herself, “lucky.”
“My twin sister passed away from breast cancer, which metastasized to her bones and my big sister, 7-years older than I am, passed away at the age of 45,” she said.
Sanders knew she didn’t want her family history of breast cancer to repeat itself.
“There’s literally no point in worrying, at all, and that’s how I’ve been from the get go. There’s no point in worrying, you just deal with the facts at the time,” Sanders said.
In February, while visiting with her doctor, they suggested she have genetic testing done.
“With genetic testing, especially in the context of hereditary cancer syndromes, what you’re trying to do is identify patients who meet certain triggers. Some of those triggers might be having a personal history of cancers with an early onset, or [patients] might just have a strong family history,” director of Coliseum Cancer Center, Dr. Danielle Rogers said.
A few weeks later, Dr. Rogers at Coliseum Medical Centers gave Sanders a pill that was hard to swallow.
“I was driving at the time, I had her on speaker phone, I said this is a bit too much to take in. Can I call you back? I need to process this because she told me the results came out positive,” Sanders said.
“Her breast cancer risk was calculated to be as high as up to 84-percent, in her lifetime, compared to 10 to 12-percent,” Dr, Rogers said.
Sanders’ doctor advised her to consider having a double mastectomy.
“I said ‘done.’ I don’t need a second opinion. He told me to take my breasts off, so take my breasts off,” Sanders said.
Never once did she second guess her decision.
“If I don’t take my breasts off, the alternative route is getting a check up every six months and keep an eye on things,” she said.
Sanders knows her twin sister, Penny, is proud of her.
“Instead of being a victim I said ‘gosh, I’m so happy.’ Wow, some people don’t even know and I knew and I could make a choice,” she said.
Sanders had the double mastectomy in June. She says she wanted to do this for her husband, kids, sisters, but most importantly herself.
Dr. Rogers says when they do genetic testings they aren’t sure which patients with mutations will go on to develop cancer. They just know the risk is different.