By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Sharon Osbourne, one of the co-hosts of CBS’s “The Talk,” announced Monday that she had a double mastectomy — even though she never had breast cancer. The 60-year-old is now fully recovered, and she spoke about her decision to undergo a double mastectomy on “The Talk.”
Osbourne said she had the surgery in January but waited until now to reveal it. She also explained that she made the dramatic decision in order to prevent breast cancer.
Osbourne said her decision was made after genetic testing confirmed she had a gene that dramatically increased her risk of developing breast cancer.
“It was a decision that I made myself. I wasn’t diagnosed with breast cancer, but I had the gene,” said Osbourne.
“With surgery, it’s a tremendous risk reducer, plus the added benefit of not having to do future mammograms, MRI. It’s a tremendous peace of mind women get with that,” said Dr. Kristin Brill, the Director of Breast Surgery at Cooper Cancer Institute. She also said women with the gene who undergo the surgery before developing cancer cut their risk by about 97 percent.
“It takes some time to come to that decision. It’s not a simple one. It involves thinking about loss of breast, reconstructive options, self image, personal relationships,” said Dr. Brill.
Forty-two-year-old Honey Schwartz, of Plymouth Meeting, went through with the procedure, including reconstruction with implants, after her mom died suddenly of uterine cancer. They both tested positive for the BRCA gene.
Honey is happy Osbourne is sharing her story.
“I think it’s great that somebody in the limelight can talk about it so people that don’t know about it have an opportunity to learn, and then make their own decisions from there,” said Honey.
Genetic testing is done with a simple blood test or cheek swab. Doctors say it’s very reliable, and is often suggested to women who have a long family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
Breast Cancer Genetic Testing Information: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA
Preventive Mastectomy Information: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/preventive-mastectomy
FORCE Nonprofit Organization Information: www.facingourrisk.org/