A DIFFERENT STORY
I want you to have “a different story” from the one I have experienced. I imagine how different my story would be if my oncologist and radiologist had told me about the benefits of genetic testing. Here is how my story would have been told…
Hi! My name is Lori. I am very proactive about my health and visit my doctors regularly. I have fibrocystic breast disease and have had numerous suspicious lumps aspirated over the years. My oncologist recently told me about a new blood test which I could have to determine whether I carry a mutation in my BRCA gene which might predispose me to breast and ovarian cancer at a much higher percentage than the general population. She asked me whether I knew my heritage and I told her that I was an Ashkenazi Jew. She proceeded to tell me that 1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jews carries this mutation. She also informed me that if I carried this mutation, I could take steps to reduce my risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.
I value life and decided that I wanted to know if I carried this BRCA mutation. I went to a genetic counselor at a hospital and had a simple blood test. My genetic counselor also had me compile a complete family medical history so she could better analyze my genetic history. My blood sample was sent to Myriad Laboratories where they analyzed my blood for any BRCA mutations. It took about 3 weeks to get the results. My genetic counselor called me to set up an appointment to review the results of my blood test.
I went for my scheduled appointment with my genetic counselor and she told me that I did carry a mutation in my BRCA 1 gene. We discussed the many options which were available to me so I could reduce my risk of getting cancer. I immediately informed my two sisters of my BRCA mutation so they could obtain genetic testing. They both live in Pennsylvania and went together to a genetic counselor to get their blood tested. I was grateful that their blood results came back negative for a BRCA mutation.
I chose a prophylactic mastectomy and prophylactic hysterectomy. I was past my child bearing years so it was not a difficult decision about the hysterectomy. I am healthy and feel great.
I wish this story had been my real story. If I had had the knowledge, I would have had the power to make important decisions about my health.
Don't let my real story become your story. Break the cycle of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer--- Get tested today!