2 local women made same decision as Jolie to cut cancer risk - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

2 metro Detroit women made same decision as Jolie to cut cancer risk

Posted: Updated:
Like Angelina Jolie, metro Detroit mom Anita Fabian had a double mastectomy. Like Angelina Jolie, metro Detroit mom Anita Fabian had a double mastectomy.
TROY, Mich. (WJBK) -

One of Hollywood's biggest stars told the world Tuesday about her decision to undergo a double mastectomy. Angelina Jolie said she did it to cut her risk of breast cancer, and she is not alone. Two local women made a similar choice.

Anita Fabian is a mother of three who had a double mastectomy and her fallopian tubes and ovaries removed after genetic testing showed she is predisposed to breast and ovarian cancer.

"My mom had cancer when I was 13, and she died when I just turned 25," Fabian explained. "I didn't want my babies to be without a mom."

The genetic testing and double mastectomy are the same procedure Jolie just revealed she underwent to prevent the possibility of getting the same cancer that killed her mother.

"Genetic counseling is extremely important because these are complicated decisions," said Beaumont oncologist Dr. Dana Zakalik.

The doctor said those with early onset breast or ovarian cancer or a family history should be tested. If positive for the BRCA gene mutation, a 60 to 85 percent chance of getting breast cancer can be reduced to around five to eight percent.

"If you do bilateral mastectomies, if you choose to do that, that you really are doing the most that you can possibly do to reduce your risk of breast cancer," Zakalik said.

But a preventive mastectomy is no guarantee the cancer will be prevented as I learned two years ago when I did a story with a local wife and mother who fought so courageously, but still couldn't win.

"We did everything humanly possible, and I still lost my wife," said Don Neilson. "We were aggressive as humanly possible, and I still lost her."

He lost his wife, Amy, just one year ago. She beat breast cancer once. A carrier of the BRCA gene, she had both breasts removed along with her ovaries and fallopian tubes trying to steer clear of the cancer that had killed her mother and grandmother.

"The sad thing is... they told me after this surgery she had two percent chance of getting it back," Neilson said.

They thought she was home free, then she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She fought valiantly, blogged about her battle, and told her story to help others.

"Just be aware that it's never a hundred percent," she told Fox 2 before her death.

Still, Dr. Zakalik said what happened to Amy is very rare. So know your family history.  The genetic testing and the preventative measures can be the difference between life and death.

"I'd rather live and see my babies get married and have grand kids versus what my mom did," Fabain said.

  • Amy LangeMore from Amy LangeMore>>

  • Former SMART employee's lawsuit battle drags on after 10 years

    Former SMART employee's lawsuit battle drags on after 10 years

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:49 PM EDT2014-08-28 03:49:24 GMT
    The case was originally about workplace discrimination. Now it's dragged on for more than a decade despite the case appearing to be one that the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation can't win.
    The case was originally about workplace discrimination. Now it's dragged on for more than a decade despite the case appearing to be one that the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation can't win.
  • Family's home hit hard by storms for second time

    Family's home hit hard by storms for second time

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:51 PM EDT2014-08-28 00:51:07 GMT
    For Ericka Page, first came the flood, then the gas line break and Tuesday, the massive tree limb that broke off with part of it landing on her house.
    For Ericka Page, first came the flood, then the gas line break and Tuesday, the massive tree limb that broke off with part of it landing on her house.
  • Police investigate connection of Southfield suicide and Detroit homicide

    Police investigate connection of Southfield suicide and Detroit homicide

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:26 PM EDT2014-08-27 22:26:24 GMT
    Police have identified a man's body with a gunshot wound to the chest found under an overpass at 9 Mile and Southfield Tuesday afternoon.At about the time Michael Young, 56, was found, Detroit Police were called to his home - on Westmoreland for a welfare check."The Woman had not been seen since Saturday," said Detroit Police Officer Adam Madera. "We received a 911 call for the well being check and Southfield Police Department showed up all at the same time."Inside police found the body of 56...
    Police have identified a man's body with a gunshot wound to the chest found under an overpass at 9 Mile and Southfield Tuesday afternoon.At about the time Michael Young, 56, was found, Detroit Police were called to his home - on Westmoreland for a welfare check."The Woman had not been seen since Saturday," said Detroit Police Officer Adam Madera. "We received a 911 call for the well being check and Southfield Police Department showed up all at the same time."Inside police found the body of 56...
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Child, 3, hospitalized after falling from second-story window

    Child, 3, hospitalized after falling from second-story window

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:31 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:31:18 GMT
    A 3-year-old child is receiving treatment at St. John hospital after falling from a second-story window in Detroit this weekend.
    A 3-year-old child is receiving treatment at St. John hospital after falling from a second-story window in Detroit this weekend.
  • Boy, 5, thrown from father's dirt bike and run over

    Boy, 5, thrown from father's dirt bike and run over

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:18 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:18:50 GMT
    Residents inside Northport Apartments in Macomb Township say that Sunday afternoon they saw a 27-year-old neighbor riding a dirt bike with his 5-year-old son along busy Garfield Road.Neighbors say they've seen him riding before -- but this time he had his child with him."The first thing that caught my eye was he was riding in his dad's lap," neighbor Tim Hale said. "And they were weaving throughout drainage ditches which are pretty steep." Macomb County sheriffs say the small, orange dirt bik...
    Residents inside Northport Apartments in Macomb Township say that Sunday afternoon they saw a 27-year-old neighbor riding a dirt bike with his 5-year-old son along busy Garfield Road.Neighbors say they've seen him riding before -- but this time he had his child with him."The first thing that caught my eye was he was riding in his dad's lap," neighbor Tim Hale said. "And they were weaving throughout drainage ditches which are pretty steep." Macomb County sheriffs say the small, orange dirt bik...
  • Flooding, power outages from latest round of storms

    Flooding, power outages from latest round of storms

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:14:26 GMT
    More flooding and power outages are being reported after the latest batch of storms.
    More flooding and power outages are being reported after the latest batch of storms.
Powered by WorldNow

25 FOX Drive
Dedham, MA 02026

Phone (781) 467-2525

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices