MORE women are opting to have their breasts removed to avoid cancer.
Women with mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have a greatly increased chance of breast cancer. A preventive mastectomy reduces the chances by about 95 per cent.
Queenslander Laraine Gadd was diagnosed with Breast Cancer when she was just 26.
Her daughter Stacey, 23, found out she had the BRCA2 gene when she turned 18.
She had both her breasts removed at the end of last year and said it was the "logical choice".
"I was worried about my appearance . . . (but) I'd rather be healthy and alive," she said.
"It's about taking back the control. And I'm super happy with the result (of the reconstruction)."
Mrs Gadd's other daughter, Laura, 20, is also a carrier, and while she will also have both breasts removed, she has not decided when.
Professor Grantley Gill, head of the Royal Adelaide Hospital's breast unit, said more women were opting for the radical surgery because of the ability to screen for the mutated genes and because of the lack of an adequate cancer screening process.
NEWS.com.au, 9 Jan 2009 "Immediate reconstruction is also offered at the time and that's an option that many young women are choosing," he said.
Professor Gill said the more common preventive mastectomy was performed on women who had already had cancer in one breast and wanted the other removed.
Dr Graeme Suthers, head of South Australia Pathology's Familial Cancer Unit, said the decision was both big and irreversible and demanded a clear understanding of the risks.
A woman's age, genes and whether or not she has had children all affect the decision.
"There is no right answer. This is a woman's decision about her own body," Dr Suthers said.
"A surgical response to the risk would have to be one of the least appropriate but it's sometimes necessary because we don't have effective screening for young women."
Mammograms are less effective on the denser breast tissue of younger women.