Angelina Jolie's mastectomy has local patients asking more quest - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Angelina Jolie's mastectomy has local patients asking more questions

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Joanna Hiller hadn't even 30 years old yet when she choose to have her breasts removed and  reconstructed.

"After watching my mom die a slow and painful death back in 2005, about three months after that, I decided to have a a preventative mastectomy," said Hiller.

Tests showed her mother didn't carry the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes, which means Hiller didn't either. Studies show these genetic mutations leave women with about a 65 percent chance of developing breast cancer, but the mother of three says she still knew the odds were against her.

People around her told the measure seemed too extreme, but Hiller, who had the conversation with her mother before she passed away, knew cancer could be a possibility down the line.

"I did find lumps in my breasts and had to have multiple biopsies and it was terrifying," said Hiller. "It really was, and now I don't have to worry about it as much."

She also says Angelina Jolie's recent disclosure about her double mastectomy reminds her of a difficult, but very important time in her life.

"It was a painful surgery, it was a scary surgery, but i'm very glad that I did it," said Hiller.

Some area oncologists, like Dr. Scott Sommers, say the news already has patients asking more questions today.

"One of them was actually effected with the genetic mutation and thought to bring it up and found it kind of interesting," said Sommers.

Health experts say the gene mutations only account for about 5 to 10 percent of breasts cancers and testing is only recommended in some cases.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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