American country music singer Morgan Wade has revealed she will undergo a double mastectomy later this year.
The 28-year-old country star shared that she tested positive for the BRCA gene – inherited gene mutations that can increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Speaking to Page Six at the Highways Festival in London on 20 May, the “Wilder Days” singer said: “I had the BRCA gene, it’s a breast cancer gene so I’m having a double mastectomy in November.”
“I’m going really hard up until November so then November and December I have off to rest,” she continued.
The Virginia native explained that a genetic predisposition to developing breast cancer runs in her family, which is why she made the difficult decision to go through with the procedure. “My mom had it, and my little cousin is going to get it, but I’ll be fine,” Wade added.
However, the “Run” singer shared that she’s “feeling fine” leading up to the double mastectomy. “I’m feeling fine, I’m just pissed I won’t be able to work out because I really like working out,” she said. “That’s my only qualm about it.”
The BRCA genes – an abbreviation for “BReast CAncer gene” – are two different genes that have been found to impact a person’s chances of developing breast cancer. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes normally help repair DNA breaks that can lead to certain cancers. However, when there is a mutation in the BRCA gene, it can no longer be effective in preventing breast cancer. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the carrier of the mutated gene can also pass a gene mutation down to their offspring.
It’s been found that people with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s estimated that 55 to 65 per cent of women with the BRCA1 mutation will develop breast cancer before age 70, while approximately 45 per cent of women with a BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by age 70.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that only an estimated 0.25 per cent of the general population carries a mutated BRCA gene. Genetic counseling is available for those who have a family history of breast cancer or inherited mutation.
Though it may be considered extreme, women with a high-risk BRCA gene mutation may choose to undergo a preventative double mastectomy to avoid developing breast cancer. This surgery involves removing both breasts before cancer has a chance to develop or spread.
A 2018 study found that women with a mutation in the BRCA1 gene lowered their risk of dying prematurely by preemptively removing both breasts. However, those with the BRCA2 gene mutation did not further reduce their risk of dying by having the procedure.
In 2013, Hollywood star Angelina Jolie revealed she underwent a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer after testing positive for the BRCA1 gene. In an article for the New York Times titled “My Medical Choice”, Jolie wrote that she completed three months of medical procedures at the end of April 2013 that she had so far managed to keep out of the public eye.
Jolie explained that her mother died of breast cancer at the age of 56, and that she herself had the “faulty” BRCA1 gene, which doctors said increased her chances of getting the disease to 87 per cent, and of getting ovarian cancer to 50 per cent.
Most recently, former NBC News anchor Jenna Wolfe opened up about her decision to get a mastectomy and a hysterectomy, a surgery to remove the uterus. “About a month ago, I tested positive for the BRCA-1 breast cancer gene (meaning my chances of getting breast and ovarian cancer are… well… really high), leaving me little wiggle room to ‘mull over my choices,’” she wrote in an Instagram post last April. “So without a ton of options, I stared down my fears, took a deep breath and opted for two pretty big surgeries.”
“Mastectomy behind me. All that’s left now is recovery and healing,” she wrote in a separate post. “The most important part. The hardest part. I FaceTimed with my kids tonight and the little [one] said to me, ‘You always say we can do hard things, mama. Now we’re telling you the same thing. You got this. We love you.’”