North Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - A young mother from North Syracuse will have major surgery Friday. She's voluntarily opted to have a double mastectomy that she doesn't necessarily need, but she's doing it to beat the overwhelming odds of getting breast cancer.
Jill Smith knows what it's like for a child to watch her mother battle that disease and she is determined not to let family history repeat itself.
With a ten-week-old, a two-year-old, two other children in school and two dogs, the Smith household is a little crazy.
“I just have to do it. I don’t want to get sick; I don’t want to get cancer,” she told NewsChannel 9. “I need to be there for my kids. I don’t have time to get sick.”
Jill lost her mother to breast cancer and when her aunt was diagnosed, Jill wanted to find out if she carried the gene for the disease.
Jill's obstetrician told her not to worry about it, but she had the blood test anyway. It was positive.
Some of Jill's extended family members think she’s being a little over reactive, but she says, “They didn’t watch my mom behind the scenes of what she went through and as a child how I felt. I don’t want to put my kids through that; watching me try to fight cancer. I made this decision for me, my husband and my kids.”
Jill has an 80-percent chance of developing breast cancer. The surgery will bring that number down to one percent.
“I’m glad I’m doing this because I don’t want to live the rest of my life thinking, ‘Am I going to find a lump today? Is today the day?’…I just don’t have time for cancer, I have four kids,” she said.
Surgery is not the only option for Jill, she could have taken medication, but the odds of preventing breast cancer are far better with the operation.