A woman who had her breasts removed wants to make it clear that her scars don't define her.
Catherine Keeney, from Newarthill, Scotland, shared photographs of her scars from a bilateral mastectomy on Facebook. She wrote that she wanted to show what her body looked like after surgery, and reinforce that scars aren't shameful.
(Note that images below show Keeney's bare chest.)
Keeney, age 30, underwent the surgery in March 2015 as a preventative measure due to her family history of breast cancer. Keeney has lost two aunts to breast cancer, and her mother and another aunt have also been diagnosed. According to Keeney, doctors estimated that she had a 97 percent chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, a preventative or "prophylactic" mastectomy can reduce the likelihood of a high-risk woman developing breast cancer by up to 95 percent.
Keeney chose to share her photographs online in order to help other women who may be going through something similar.
"I made the decision because there were not enough younger women like myself who have had to get a preventative double mastectomy online," Keeney told The Huffington Post. "I felt very alone and there wasn't much in the way of information."
Keeney's older sister, 33-year-old Amanda Stewart, was also told that she had a 97 percent chance of developing breast cancer. She underwent a preventative mastectomy in August 2015, and wrote that her chances of developing breast cancer are now less than 5 percent.
“We had eight known cases of breast cancer in our family – one of them a male," Stewart told The Daily Record in Sept. 2015. "I was not waiting to see if conventional medicine or diets could save me. My breasts were a ticking timebomb. It’s not the easy option and not right for everyone but it was the best option for me."
Keeney told The Huffington Post that she's surprised but gratified that her photographs are going viral and raising awareness.
"I'm just a normal woman, but I want to show everyone that having a mastectomy is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of," Keeney wrote in a post accompanying the pictures.
Learn more about Keeney's journey on her Facebook page.
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