The surgery was performed by the same team of doctors in an Oregon hospital on the same day, one right after the other.
At first glance, it may seem silly. Amber Egan-Fields' breakup letter to her breasts that she posted on Facebook read, "Dear boobies. I'm writing this letter to inform you that I'm ending our relationship. I no longer wish to have you in my life."
Her delivery is remarkably upbeat but her message is serious. The letter goes on, "Well guess what? I've scheduled an appointment to have you both removed before you decide to kill me."
Amber and her sister, Carrie DeForest, have seen breast and ovarian cancer kill too many times. Nearly every woman on their father's side was touched by the disease.
Carrie, just 35, decided to get tested for the breast cancer genes known as BRCA. Carrie found out she was a carrier of the BRCA1 mutation, just as Angelina Jolie went public with her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy.
"At that point, I hadn't really shared the news with a lot of people. I was still processing it myself and trying to understand what my options were and what my risk levels were," said Carrie.
Amber, now 44, then got tested as well. She learned she also carries the same gene mutation. The sisters say Angelina's story didn't influence their decisions, but it sure made it easier to talk about their fears. Women who carry BRCA mutations have, on average, about a 65 percent risk of developing breast cancer compared to about 12 percent for most women. For some carriers, like Carrie and Amber, the risk is even higher. When they looked at the facts, the sisters knew what they had to do.
Carrie explains, "To me, it was a no brainer. They're just body parts, so let's get rid of 'em and lower our risk." Carrie's family never doubted her decision, "My husband was really supportive. He said, 'I want you around. The kids and I need you. So. Do what we need to do to keep you around."
A few months back, each sister also had a hysterectomy. Even with all the surgeries, there are no guarantees they'll be cancer-free. But both of them say, they'll sleep better knowing they are no longer living under such a dark shadow.
Amber's letter to her breasts on Facebook concludes with, "Well guess what? I've scheduled an appointment to have you both removed before you decide to kill me. And don't be jealous, I've asked for new ones since you could not ge the job done. Sincerely, Me."
Testing for the BRCA mutations can be very expensive, costing up to $4,000. Insurance companies will often cover it if you have certain risk factors, like a family history. Carrie and Amber were able to have their testing covered by insurance.