Chandler woman responds to Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- At age 23, Shannon Harris underwent a preventative double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery after testing positive for a genetic mutation which put her at great risk for developing breast cancer.

Harris also has a frightening family history of breast cancer.

"My cousin, my aunt, my grandmother and my mother all passed away from breast cancer," Harris said.

Harris said she applauds actress Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy after also testing positive for the genetic mutation.

"I’m happy for her. She made a great decision, I think, and I hope more women consider their options," Harris said.

Jolie said the procedure dropped her chances of developing breast cancer from 87 percent to under 5 percent, but the American Cancer Society warns the procedure is not for all women.

"My great nightmare is that a large number of women, just simply because they’ve heard this news, without thought are going to go out and want to get tested," said Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society in an interview with CNN.

Elective mastectomies in women who have not been diagnosed with cancer are becoming more prominent. Some doctors have expressed concern, considering the genetic mutation impacting both Harris and Jolie is rare.

Still, Harris believes five years after her procedure that she made the right choice.

"There was no question," she said. "After watching my mother go through it and the impact it had on my family, there was no real question. It’s nothing that I want my son to ever endure."