Nina Garcia is a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry. She left Elle as the fashion director to take a similar position with Marie Claire. Later returning to Elle magazine, this time as the Editor-in-Chief all while being a regular judge on Project Runway. Her latest feat may be the best yet-opening up about her preventative double mastectomy.
In the powerful essay she penned for Elle, Nina detailed her reasons for undergoing the preventative procedure. She chose to undergo genetic testing and found out she had a mutation on one of the BRCA genes. Doctors believe that a woman with this type of mutation may have a more likely chance of having cancer.
A mutation of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene is rare. But preventative double mastectomies are not. Research shows three times the amount of women today are opting for double mastectomies compared to the 6% of women undergoing it in the 90s.
Despite this increase it is still a personal topic given little if any attention. That’s why Nina Garcia’s story is so important. She details how scared she was to undergo this new journey. But along the way she found a new group of female friends who had all undergone the surgery and they ended up being her support group of sorts.
Her actions may have been to benefit her and her family solely, but Nina’s letter is a gift to any woman struggling with this same decision. Breasts have been overly sexualized by society and the media to the point that they almost feel co-owned. They’re the epitome of femininity. Without them, would we still be a woman?
Remember your body is yours. The decision of what procedures to do, both for medical and non-medical reasons, is up to you and only you. Just because society doesn’t want us to talk about something doesn’t mean we have to listen.
The statistics show that more and more women are seeking out this surgery. So why shouldn’t they also speak out about it? We should give these stories more elevation to serve as guiding lights to those that will come after.
Nina is far from the first woman to speak out about her experience. Cosmo helped created a beautiful video series focusing on different struggles faced by women. One of those featured activist Erika Hart who detailed her experience as a black queer woman being diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer does not know race. Every woman walking into a clinic seeking out information about all aspects of her double mastectomy should be met with information she can relate too. Whether that’s photos of scarring or direction to support groups in or near her community.
To any woman coming forward with their decision to get a preventative double mastectomy, thank you. To anyone struggling with the choice of whether or not to follow through with it, you are not alone.
Image courtesy of Rosewood Global
Also published on Medium.