A Miss America contestant is planning to undergo a preventative double mastectomy next year because she says she has a genetic mutation that increases her risk for breast cancer.
Allyn Rose, 24, the new Miss District of Columbia, lost her mother to breast cancer when she was just 16. She revealed she will undergo the procedure for her health.
"A lot of people are confused when I say I'm choosing life over beauty, but it's beauty as a stereotype, the Hollywood idea of beauty, the physical attributes. I'm not going to let my desire to achieve those goals distract me from my own health," she told "Good Morning America."
Rose said breast cancer will be her platform at the pageant.
"I'm really looking forward to really being able to share my message with America," she told "GMA." "It's the most iconic swimsuit pageant in the world, and a year from now my body won't be the same body as it is then. I want to showcase that this is what my body looks like now. But if I were to win this, if I lose my breasts, it doesn't make me less of a Miss America."
The beauty queen said her doctors are split on her surgery, but she wants to make a "proactive decision."
"I met with my surgeon, and the doctors that treated my mom, and doctors are 50-50 with this," she told the morning show. "Some say you can put it off, you don't have breast cancer. Others say it is an incredibly wise decision, your mom was diagnosed at 27, only three years from where you are now, why not make a proactive decision?"
Rose told People magazine how heartbreaking it was to lose her mother to the disease at such a young gage.
"My mom had her right breast removed at 27, but at 47 or 48, it came back in her left breast," she told the mag. "It was already stage three. She could have had that other breast removed, but I'm sure there was a part of her that thought she didn't want to give up this other part of herself."
"My dad said he begged her for years and years to get it removed, but she said no," Rose added. "It's ultimately the thing that killed her... I had to become my own mentor. I had to go pick out my prom dress by myself. I had to go to my high school graduation without my mom. She didn't see me go off to college or go on my first date or drive a car for the first time."
If Rose does win the Miss America title, she told People she will have the surgery in January 2014 after completing her crown-related responsibilities.
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