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'Project Runway' judge Nina Garcia to undergo preventative double mastectomy

Garcia hopes her revelation will help other women in a similar situation.
/ Source: TODAY

Nina Garcia, the editor in chief of Elle and a judge on “Project Runway" since the Bravo show premiered in 2004, has revealed she is getting a preventative double mastectomy.

Garcia, 53, who revealed the news in an essay she penned for Elle’s website, said that she's been thinking about this for a few years.

“My battle of the boobs began in 2015,” she wrote. “Because of a family history, I decided to get genetic testing to check for mutations to the BRCA genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2), which increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. To my surprise, I received an envelope containing the results, stating that I did in fact have a mutation and was at high risk for breast cancer.”

Garcia explained that doctors weren’t sure how much the mutation of the BARD1 gene, which she also had, increased her odds of getting cancer. She felt like she was at a crossroads.

“Even though I had amazing genetic counseling and many supportive doctors, there has been no clear direction as to what I should do," she wrote. "So, for three-plus years, I’ve been closely monitored, getting regular mammograms and breast checks.”

Garcia underwent a multitude of procedures over the years before she and her team of doctors came to a conclusion.

“This January we did more tests, and after studying the results, my doctors and I decided that I should have a preventive double mastectomy,” she wrote, following a path taken by other high profile names, such as Angelina Jolie and former "Growing Pains" star Joanna Kerns.

“I was living in a loop of testing, every day waking up thinking: Is today the day I will get cancer? I no longer wanted to have these scary thoughts, and I knew the only way they would stop was to schedule the surgery. The answer was clear.”

Garcia, who is married with two kids, knows she has a long road in front of her.

“So here I am,” she wrote. “Still scared. Still not looking forward to what I’m sure will be a pain-in-the-ass (or boob) surgery. But I am so deeply grateful. I’m grateful that science and technology make early detection possible (I urge all who are able to get the genetic testing to do so).

"I’m grateful for my wonderful team of doctors who have kept a very close eye on me through these past few years. I’m grateful for the sisterhood of women who have been so open and supportive. I’m grateful for my boys, my husband, and my amazing family. And I’m grateful for my dear friends, colleagues, and team at ELLE.”

Garcia said she decided to speak out about her decision in an effort to help others.

“I ultimately decided to write this in hopes that my story might serve as comfort to at least one woman out there who is going through something similar. For that woman, I want you to know that you are not alone.”