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Pink Courage: Sylvia Schlegal & Her Preventative Mastectomy

<font size="2">FAYETTEVILLE, AR-- Deciding to remove both of your breasts and never having breast cancer is a story making headlines after <a href="http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1305/14/sp.04.html">Angelina Jolie</a> came out to share her experience with genetic testing and having a double mastectomy. A Fayetteville woman made the same decision not so long ago. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/NeileAJones">KNWA's Neile Jones</a> revisits her story in this Pink Courage report.</font>
FAYETTEVILLE, AR-- Deciding to remove both of your breasts and never having breast cancer is a story making headlines after Angelina Jolie came out to share her experience with genetic testing and having a double mastectomy. A Fayetteville woman made the same decision not so long ago. KNWA's Neile Jones revisits her story in this Pink Courage report .

To say the Schlegal house is full of life might be an understatement. But that's today, you see for the Schlegal family there was a time when life seemed uncertain.

We first met Sylvia Schelgal in 2005. She told us about her family's history with breast cancer. Sylvia says her mother regularly went for checkups and screenings, but even after watching her mom take the
right steps in taking care of herself, she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.

Sylvia says, "How scary is that, that you do all the things you are supposed to do and you still get the disease and you are going to perish because of it. Because it was too late to do anything about it."

Sylvia's fears and concerns skyrocketed. "Four days after my mother died, my sister was diagnosed with Inflammatory breast cancer and it was already in stage three," Sylvia says. After watching her mother fight to her death and supporting her sister as she began her own battle, Sylvia came home one day with an idea.

She remembers that moment, "I'm really freaked out because I think you know when's my time going to come. So I decided and talked to my husband to see what he thought about me having a prophylactic double mastectomy."
 
Her Husband Ben had some reservations. "I thought it was a little off the wall when I first heard it because I'd never heard of such a thing. So yeah I was taken back by it yeah initially but after seeing what her mother went through it was brutal," Ben said. 

The family moved forward and in 2001 when Sylvia went through a long surgery that would eventually send her home with a new body and a new outlook. "It was like the whole world was lifted off my shoulders," she says. It's something that Sylvia says hasn't changed.
 
Sylvia and Ben are still doing great and she is still cancer free. Sylvia says in her case she did not have the genetic testing done, but was told she had an 85-percent chance of getting the disease and when she learned her insurance would cover the procedure, she went forward with the work. She says she has no regrets and life in 2013 is better than ever.

Genetic testing in Northwest Arkansas can be done at various locations including The Mana Breast Center of Northwest Arkansas or Highlands Oncology Group.  The Ozark Affiliate of the Susan G Komen For The Cure Foundation does provide grant money to help with the Genetic testing for breast cancer through Hope Cancer Resources. Click on the name of each organization and it will take you to their website for more information.
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