Finding out you have the breast cancer gene in your twenties: Fashion blogger explains how she's dealing with it.

In her mid 20s, Man Repeller fashion blogger Leandra Medine decided to get tested for the abnormal genes associated with breast cancer.

When Medine was three or four, her grandmother died of breast cancer. As she grew up, she watched her maternal aunt battle both breast and ovarian cancer.

Medine’s mother was promptly tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, which dramatically increase a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. She tested positive. After the birth of her fourth child, she had her ovaries removed as a preventative measure.

Angelina Jolie famously underwent a preventative double mastectomy after discovering she had the gene mutation. Image via Getty.

When Medine expressed interest in having herself tested, her mother insisted; “What’s the point, you can’t take your ovaries out, you want to have kids.” But to her, the decision seemed like a "no-brainer."

"I didn't see the value in not knowing that I carried the gene", she told Vogue in a recent interview. "I thought, at least I'll know and I can share it with my doctors... my doctor just asked me one day if I wanted to get tested, and I said yes," she said.

A few days later she received a phone call to say that she had tested positive.


Medine, now 27, told Vogue: "I didn’t really have a reaction. I wasn’t told that I had cancer; I was told that I had knowledge to prevent future cancer in my body. I don’t feel like I’m any different from anyone else. If anything, I now feel grateful that I have the wisdom to move forward."

In Medine's words, "knowledge is power, right?"

A positive result means a vastly different approach to cancer testing. Most women aren't encouraged by doctors to seek a mammogram until they are 40, but women with this particular gene mutation must see a breast specialist twice a year, and undergo a sonogram twice a year.

Julia Morris talks about her husband's breast cancer diagnosis. Post continues below.

The author and fashion blogger does not interpret the result as a "death sentence". Rather, she is a healthy, fully functioning 27-year-old, who has a health advantage. "I won't be caught by surprise...If you detect it early enough, it's fully treatable," she told Vogue.

Medine is now on a mission to normalise this conversation, and to dispel any fear that women might have about getting tested.

"It doesn’t change anything. It just gives you knowledge that will help you toward a safer and hopefully longer future," she says.

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