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Breast cancer twins

Breast cancer is always a dramatic stress for woman but it is also pretty stressful for family members. But nobody in the family can feel the same emotional and physical suffer as woman with breast cancer. This is why thousands of breast cancer societies and organizations are developed – they help women to fight breast cancer together and feel valuable support from “breast cancer friends” and breast cancer supporting teams. Today we would like to speak about breast cancer twins.

What about sisters or about twin sisters battling breast cancer together?

Breast cancer twins – Kristen Maurer and Kelly McCarthy

Unfortunately family cancer history is recognized as one of risk factors for breast cancer development. And it is logical that twin sisters would have same or similar chances for getting breast cancer.

Kristen Maurer and Kelly McCarthy both discovered breast cancer a few months apart. Struggle against breast cancer has brought identical twin sisters closer – even Maurer donated her belly tissue to help rebuild her sister’s breast. Transplanted tissue from an identical twin is “the ideal material” because of genetic matches.

Breast cancer twins

Breast cancer twins

Kelly (trained nurse) was diagnosed with a difficult-to-treat form of the disease in 2011 and had started chemotherapy treatment, just weeks after the birth of her son. But she worried about her sister and knew she had to persuade her twin sister to get tested. It was not easy but she did it. Unfortunately Maurer was diagnosed with aggressive early stage breast cancer and was recommended double mastectomy. At the same time her sister Kelly also needed the second mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Sisters supported each other with full understanding – doctors call it “twin-healing”.

Breast cancer twins – Elizabeth Lins Douglas and Lisa Lins Bailey

Elizabeth and Lisa are identical twins with very similar happy characters – shopping together, laughing together, calling each other dozens of times a day and giggling even after breast cancer diagnosis. These women were really supporting each other.

It was fun to be identical twins – even at 55 people were confused mistaking them for each other. How twin sisters handled breast cancer journey together?

Breast cancer twins

Breast cancer twins

Elizabeth had annual mammography in December 2008 and something unusual was noted. But she had breast reduction surgery several years before and she was given the option of waiting six months for next test or to make all necessary tests immediately. She considered waiting but her family doctor strongly recommended visiting breast surgeon immediately. Tests show scar tissue in the left breast and signs of cancer in the right breast. The cancer was found in a duct.

Finally Elizabeth had a double mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction surgery and a painful operation to replace her nipples with skin grafts. As tumor was invasive and hormone-sensitive, additional partial hysterectomy and daily hormonal treatment was recommended (for at least 5-10 years).

After all, their mother turned to twin-sister Lisa – “What about you? You share the same DNA?” Recognizing the possible risks, Lisa decided to have a preventive double mastectomy. Life was more important than breasts. She had her surgery in October 2009.

Later Elizabeth and Lisa discovered that paternal relatives have had breast, colon and thyroid cancers. One heavy smoking family member had lung cancer. Their father died very young at 48 from multiple sclerosis.


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