The country singer opens up in this week's issue of PEOPLE about her upcoming surgery in November
Country singer Morgan Wade was in Stockholm when she got the call from her doctor: the recent test she’d taken — which would tell her whether she had a gene mutation that puts her at a higher risk of breast cancer — had come back positive.
The news wasn’t unexpected for Wade, 28, whose family has a history with cancer. And so the decision was all but made for her: she would undergo a preventative double mastectomy.
“I was like, ‘OK, well I know what I have to do,’” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I was given this knowledge and this information, so I’m not going to just sit there. I would rather have that peace of mind.”
Wade — whose new album Psychopath was released Friday — will have her surgery in November. It’s the same surgery her mother underwent after also testing positive for the RAD51D gene mutation, which puts carriers at a 20 to 40 percent lifetime risk of breast cancer, according to the Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered advocacy group.
The “Wilder Days” singer says she lost both her grandmother and great-aunt to pancreatic cancer, and had an aunt who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30. After a cousin also tested positive for the gene, Wade’s mom encouraged the star to go for the test.
“I was like, ‘I really don’t want to.’ I complained. I was like, ‘I don't have time,’” Wade recalls, noting that she feared a difficult process, as she “hates” blood work.
As it turned out, all she needed to do was spit into a tube. Now, she feels a duty to share her experience with fans in order to draw awareness to just how easy it can be to take your health into your own hands.
“People don’t know,” Wade says. “They don’t. I’ve met so many people and they’re like, ‘My mom had breast cancer,’ and now they’re going to get tested and [are] finding out, ‘Oh my gosh, I do have it.’ They just don’t know how accessible this stuff is."
She continues: "I’ve had so many amazing people reach out that have been through this process or have gotten tested to find out they do have the gene and they’re grateful for that knowledge.”
Though the singer-songwriter says she’s received some criticism for her decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy, she feels confident it’s right for her.
“People are like, ‘Well, what if you never got cancer?’” she says. “I was like, ‘Well, I won’t know because I’m going to do the procedure and then not worry about it.’ If you have the opportunity to prevent something, prevent it. That’s the choice that I want to make.”
As she prepares for her surgery in the fall, Wade is currently focused on the release of her latest record, which puts her gritty Americana sound on display.
“With this record, I put a lot of pressure on myself. It was harder to write just because it’s the second one, so a lot of eyes are on this. Was the first one just lucky? Did I just get lucky that it turned out great?” she says. “But the process was the same. I can’t just write to write. Everything that’s on there I wrote and I put heart into it. I try to be as authentic as possible.”
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