Miss America contestant, Allyn Rose, has elected to undergo a double mastectomy as a preventative measure. The 24-year-old, who holds the current title as Miss DC, made the decision to have both of her breasts removed due to genetic predisposition.
Breast cancer was responsible for the deaths of Rose’s grandmother, great-aunt, and mother. Genetic testing performed when the beauty queen was child revealed that she is genetically predisposed to develop the disease at some point in her life.
According to Rose, her father first proposed an elective double mastectomy when she was a freshman at the University of Maryland. As reported by Fox News, Allyn was not interested in her father’s suggestion:
“I said, `Dad I’m not going to do that. I like the body I have.’ He got serious and said, `Well then you’re going to end up dead like your mom.’ “
In an interview with ABC News, the Miss America hopeful stated that she eventually decided to have her breasts removed when she considered that her mother was only 27 when she was diagnosed and in her 50’s when she eventually passed away.
Specialists have conflicting opinions about her decision. In an interview with Fox News, Sandra Swain, Medical Director of Washington Cancer Institute, voices her concern:
“We’re seen a rise in prophylactic mastectomies and a lot of it is not for a medical reason; it is because of fear and anxiety.”
Although genetic testing did reveal that Allyn possessed a genetic predisposition to develop breast cancer, test results were negative for two other factors, BRCA1 and 2, which are considered the “breast cancer genes.”
Allyn’s brother, Dean Rose, works for an oncology association. He fully supports and respects his sister’s decision:
“For me what trumps everything is her living, hopefully to a ripe old age, as opposed to any ancillary things that she might lose from potentially winning Miss America.”
Allyn has won several pageants over the last three years including Miss Sinergy, Miss Maryland USA, and finally Miss District of Columbia, which led to the Miss America competition taking place Saturday night in Las Vegas.
If she wins the title on Saturday, Rose plans to have the procedure while she holds the title. She feels that it will send a powerful statement to other women and will help raise awareness.