This past week I traveled to Salt Lake City. It was an INCREDIBLE trip. I am fortunate to be a part of what is called the BRAC Pack. The BRAC Pack is made up of a group of individuals from across the country that have been tested for the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation. Our job is to help educate others about the importance of genetic testing and their risk for Hereditary Breast or Ovarian Cancer, also known as HBOC. Shortly after my diagnosis of breast cancer, I was tested for the mutation. I tested positive for BRCA 1. BRCA mutations increase breast and ovarian cancer risks. If you test positive for a BRCA mutation, you have up to a 50 % chance of developing breast cancer by age 50, up to an 87% chance of developing breast cancer by age 70, and up to a 44% chance of developing ovarian cancer by age 70. The statistics are outstanding. However, they are also avoidable.
If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, PLEASE talk to your physician or OBGYN about your risks. I had my first mammogram at the age of 25 because my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at only 35 years old. Unfortunately, no physician or OBGYN shared with me the importance of genetic testing. At the age of 26, I gave birth to my daughter Charley. Two years later, my husband and I were ready to add to our family. However, that never happened. Instead, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Hearing the words "You have breast cancer" could have been avoided. If only at the age of 25, someone had seen my family history as concerning. If only someone would have talked to me about the importance of genetic testing, perhaps, I could have avoided hearing the words "You have breast cancer." I could have avoided facing death and the fear of leaving my husband and daughter.
PLEASE do yourself a favor, and talk to your physician about your family history and genetic testing. Sometimes, you have to be your own advocate. Unfortunately, not all physicians are as concerned about your health as you are.
If you would like more information on genetic testing, please visit BracAnalysis, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please contact me if you or someone you know would be interested in having me share my story. Genetic testing can potentially change the future of you or your loved ones.
I feel so blessed to be a part of something so great! My hope is that I will be able to share my story with women....AND men....all over the world, and that in doing so, more and more lives will be impacted and potentially saved from ever hearing the words...."You have breast cancer."