Plymouth bellydancer, 20, to have breasts and ovaries removed so she won't get cancer
A 20-YEAR-old woman has decided to have her breasts and ovaries removed after testing positive for an hereditary breast cancer gene.
Yasmin Ross, a belly dancing teacher, made the difficult decision after losing her auntie, Brenda, and grandfather, Frank, to cancer in the last few years.
Yasmin, who splits her time between her mum's house in St Germans and her dad's Plympton home, had genetic testing for the hereditary breast cancer gene BRCA2 immediately after turning 18, nearly three years ago.
The fact she carries the gene means she is 80-90 per cent more likely to get breast cancer in her lifetime, compared to someone who doesn't carry the gene – and 40-60 per cent more likely to develop ovarian cancer. But the problem did not end there.
After making the agonising decision to have a double mastectomy this year and her ovaries removed at a later date, Yasmin was told she may not even be able to have her breasts reconstructed due to the fact she suffers from another hereditary condition.
Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) affects the way she heals.
"No woman looks forward to having her breasts removed and I'm blessed with quite a nice pair which makes it even worse," Yasmin said.
"But having them removed is the lesser of two evils.
"The fact I also have EDS, which is a default in the make-up of my body's collagen, makes things twice as difficult because I don't heal very well.
"So if I have my breasts reconstructed there is a greater chance the implants will slip and cause permanent damage to my muscles. I'm still considering what to do because it's so risky.
"Whereas someone who undergoes a double mastectomy usually recovers in about 6-12 weeks, I've been told it could take me 6-12 months."
Yasmin, who will never be able to belly dance again following the operation, said that because the cancer was in her family she already knew before being diagnosed that if she had the gene she wanted surgery.
She was referred to see a surgeon at St Bartholomew's Hospital, in London, who has since drafted in the help of another surgeon with experience in a special technique they believe could be used on a person with EDS.
Yasmin said: "Because of my EDS the surgeon at St Bart's is now receiving help from another surgeon who is showing him a special technique to use which should stop any complications that could be caused by the syndrome.
"The surgeon is even having to learn how to cut differently, because he needs to use 50 per cent less pressure on me.
"He is receiving advice from surgeons around the world on how best to carry out the operation."
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Yasmin's surgery, which is due to take place within the next few months, she said she was happy to have been diagnosed.
"I was so happy when I tested positive for the gene because I knew I could make progress and take preventative steps to stop me getting cancer. There are a lot of women out there who have familial breast cancer but who don't know if they've got the gene," said Yasmin.
"At least I know and can do something about it.
"This has completely changed my life. I can't wait to the end of the year when it's hopefully all over. If I do have to start my life and career all over again then so be it. You either feel sorry for yourself or just get on with it. I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones because I received a diagnosis so early on."
YOUNG dancer Yasmin Ross is hoping her charity fundraiser will be a sell-out.
The 20-year-old is preparing to have her breasts and ovaries removed after being diagnosed with the hereditary breast cancer gene BRCA2.
Following her diagnosis, nearly three years ago, Yasmin became a volunteer for the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline, where she now runs the first ever helpline for women under 25 years old.
She said: "When I was diagnosed I couldn't find a support group for young women.
"It was quite difficult speaking to older ladies with cancer and so I suggested to the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline that a line was set up for under 25s, which I now run."
Passionate about both the charity and the dancers she teaches, Yasmin has decided to host a charity evening to raise money for the helpline.
"All of my students know what I'm going through and know that I'll never be able to dance again after my surgery, and everyone is being so supportive," she said.
"So as a thank you to my students and to raise money for the helpline I have decided to put on an event."
The Chakra Belly Dance company, which Yasmin runs, will host a Moonlight Shimmy at the Devonport Playhouse Theatre on Saturday February 16.
Tickets are priced at £10 with all proceeds going to the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline.
To buy tickets visit www.chakrabelly- dance.co.uk/moonlightshimmy.