STUART, Fla. - It's a scary thought for many women in their 20s and 30s but it could save their life.
A new study shows that women with certain genes who have their ovaries removed before the age of 35 can dramatically lower their risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Amy Byer Shainman is a pre-vivor.
"I have, as a BRCA 1 carrier, an exceedingly high risk for cancer, however I have not had the disease," says Shainman.
She's the wife of WPTV Anchor and Reporter Jon Shainman. She underwent genetic testing after her sister was diagnosed with cancer. She found out she had the BRCA 1 gene.
"I didn't really know what to do with that information until I met with an high risk oncologist," says Shainman.
After consulting with several doctors, Shainman had a full hysterectomy and had her breasts removed. She has greatly reduced her chances of getting breast or ovarian cancer.
"I wanted to live and I basically wanted to remain breathing," says Shainman, "My best chance for that was to get my ovaries out."
A new study out Monday suggests more women should do the same thing if they carry the BRCA 1 gene. It found that women who removed their ovaries before the age of 35 lowered their risk of ovarian and breast cancers by as much as 80%.
"This is really a small portion of the female population," says Dr John Rimmer.
Dr. Rimmer says this recent study shows there is actually a benefit in doing such surgical procedures before the age of 40.
Doctors say women, especially young women, need to do their research. Find out your family history, get genetic testing and talk with an expert.
"It's a life saving surgery," says Shainman.
This mother of two knows what a tough decision it can be. Women who undergo the surgery will likely never have children afterward.
"I was on the fence about maybe even having another child and you grieve for the choices," says Shainman, "The study makes me know I made the right decision."