No boobs, no problem.
That appears to be the motto of New York-based comedian Caitlin Brodnick, who uses a sense of levity and humor to tackle tough topics like breast cancer, the BRCA mutation and why she decided to undergo a preventative double mastectomy in her memoir, Dangerous Boobies: Breaking Up with My Time Bomb Breasts.
“It was actually the best decision I’ve ever made,” Brodnick told InsideEdition.com. “I did a preventative mastectomy, cut off my boobs, and saved my life. I have fake boobs, but a real good future.”
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
However, nearly half of all women found to have the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 gene mutation will develop breast cancer.
Brodnick had grown up knowing cancer was a prevalent disease in her family.
The gene mutation is rare among most of the population, but women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, like Brodnick, have a one in 40 chance of carrying the gene.
“My father is currently the only surviving member of his immediate family,” she said. “He’s lost both parents and two sisters to cancer, so growing up, I was attending all those funerals and really felt like cancer was a part of it all. I was just very, very afraid.”
Although she was scared to find out, Brodnick said she took the test at 25 years old to determine whether she had inherited the BRCA gene from her father, who also tested positive for it.
“I got tested when I was very young,” she said. “[At the time,] I was only concerned with if I had enough money for pizza and this boy I really liked and dating and going out after work for drinks.”
The test revealed she did have the BRCA-1 mutation.
“It was very overwhelming," she said. "Even though I didn’t have cancer, it felt like I was given a cancer diagnosis.”
Her diagnosis changed her life, Brodnick said, and she remembered feeling terrified because she was not sure who to turn to.
“I was so afraid of the information and I did not understand what they were talking about,” she said. “I just wish I had a best friend or a partner in this who knew exactly what I was going through. I was shut out and I just panicked for years after my diagnosis.”
While many women living with the BRCA mutation respond to the diagnosis by getting mammograms twice a year and taking regular medication, Brodnick said she decided at 28 years old to part with her breasts through a preventative double mastectomy.
“I hated them forever, I thought they were going to give me cancer,” she explained. “I always felt like my breasts were very dangerous and I felt that they were very scary.”
By undergoing the mastectomy that aims to cut out nearly all of her breast tissue, Brodnick lowered her odds of getting breast cancer in her lifetime by at least 90 percent.
“The best part is not dying of cancer,” Brodnick said. “But the second-best part is you get to design your own boobs.”
Following her mastectomy, she consulted with a plastic surgeon for a breast augmentation.
“Some people get to pick new nipples,” she said. “I still haven’t committed to a nipple. I can’t choose a nipple to save my life."
Brodnick explained she has always had a complicated relationship with her breasts because they were “insanely huge” at a 32G cup size.
“Designing my own breasts made me feel more empowered and actually sexier and more confident, and I would have never expected that,” Brodnick explained. “[Angelina Jolie] went public with her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy and she’s one of the sexiest women in the world.”
Brodnick is now speaking out about the BRCA gene mutation and preventative double mastectomies in hopes of helping young women like herself realize they are not alone.
In 2013, Brodnick created a miniseries titled "Screw You Cancer" with Glamour.com following the journey of her mastectomy.
She said her husband also dispelled her original concerns that her mastectomy would change their relationship.
“He’s just happy that I’m happy,” she said. “And sex is still great. You don’t need boobs to have a good sex life.”