Local breast cancer survivor applauds Angelina Jolie's decision

Local breast cancer survivor applauds Angelina Jolie's decision

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Shondia McFadden-Sabari was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36. Shondia McFadden-Sabari was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36.
ATLANTA -

A breast cancer survivor says she applauds Angelina Jolie for her decision to have a double mastectomy and go public with it.

Jolie announced she had the surgery after learning she carried a gene that makes it extremely likely she'll develop breast cancer.  

The 37-year-old actress writes that last month, she finished three months of surgical procedures to remove both breasts.  

Jolie says she made the choice after her mother died of ovarian cancer at age 56.  

Doctors told Jolie she had an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer, and a 50 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer.

Shondia McFadden-Sabari had to make her call two and a half years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36.

She chose to have both breasts removed, and opted to go "breast-free."

Shondia McFadden-Sabari says she heard about Angelina's decision and wanted to hug the actress.  

"I was so happy for her, and I'm like, I want to get in touch with her, I want to send her something. I'm just so proud of her," said McFadden-Sabari.

McFadden-Sabari didn't have a gene that put her at risk, she had cancer, in both breasts.  So at 37, she underwent a double mastectomy in February of 2011.

She says she did it for her husband, an Army major, and their two children, now 9 and 10.

Staring down cancer, McFadden-Sabari says surgery was a relief.

"It was very exciting for me. It was like waking up from a dream, not a nightmare, but a dream," said McFadden-Sabari.

She opted not to have her breasts reconstructed.

"I never had big breasts anyway, I always had a big behind," McFadden-Sabari said.

McFadden-Sabari writes about her surgery on her website, Boldandbreastless.com, and she has no regrets.

"I just feel like, again, cancer took my breasts, but it didn't take my sexy, and it's not being arrogant, it's just being thankful. Thankful for life, because things could have been worse.  I have no regrets," said McFadden-Sabari.

McFadden-Sabari says she knows there are people who won't agree with Jolie's decision or hers, but that's OK. Ultimately, it was their choice.

"I think she did the right thing, that's just my personal opinion.  And I'm glad that now she has peace, Brad and her children, I feel like they both will live a long and healthy life together," McFadden-Sabari said.

Only 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers are hereditary. Most women will not need genetic testing like Jolie underwent.

If you're concerned your risk, talk to your doctor about it.

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