Local double mastectomy patient speaks out thanks to Angelina Jo - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Local double mastectomy patient speaks out after Angelina Jolie's admission

Donna Amendola, double mastectomy patient Donna Amendola, double mastectomy patient

Donna Amendola is a wife, a mother of two young boys and a breast cancer survivor.

"I was in shock when I got that diagnosis," says Donna Amendola.

Amendola was diagnosed with the disease last June after a regular mammogram. She had a double mastectomy a month later.

It was right after her surgery she found out through genetic testing she's "BRCA2 positive", carrying the gene for breast and ovarian cancer.

Her mother died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 52.

"So I'm so glad that I chose the double mastectomy and I knew in my heart I wanted to do that anyhow,' explains Amendola.

Amendola is applauding actress Angelina Jolie for making her preventative double mastectomy decision public and hopes it educates others.

"I was absolutely shocked that she had this," says Amendola.

Doctor Donna Plecha is the Director of Breast Cancer Imaging at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. She says it's important to talk to your doctor about other options.

"It's a very serious surgery and I don't think most women don't need the surgery. I think that people who are at a high risk for breast cancer need to know that there are other screening tools out there that will help them catch their breast cancer early enough so that we can treat it and hopefully cure it," explains Plecha.

Genetic counseling is something Plecha says should be a must for cancer patients.

As for Amendola, it's been an emotional road to recovery. She had a hysterectomy after learning she had a 50% chance of getting ovarian cancer.

Amendola is now Cleveland's Outreach Coordinator for a non-profit organization called "Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowerment." 

Copyright 2013 WOIO. All rights reserved.

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