My journey with genetic testing and the BRCA gene


“When I was in high school, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 42. She had a lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation. Every year since then, I would get that twinge of nervousness when she had her yearly mammogram…but the more years that went on, it would get a little easier because I had convinced myself there’s no way her breast cancer would return…ever, it’d been way too long! The thought would hardly cross my mind. In December of 2012, I even dedicated my winter dance recital to her and her 15 years of being a breast cancer survivor. Then ironically, just a few weeks after that….I can’t explain the feelings and emotions I felt when she was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time. Shock, fear, anger, fear, fear…Amongst everything else, I couldn’t help but immediately wonder if she did have the BRCA gene mutation (BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that belong to a class of genes known as tumor suppressors. Mutation of these genes has been linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. It can increase a woman’s chance of getting breast and/or ovarian cancer by up to 70% http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA.)*

Why and how did she just happen to get cancer AGAIN (and a new cancer, not a reoccurrence) 15 years later? I had learned a lot about genetic testing and the BRCA genes over the last year and a half, because I had ironically already met with a genetic counselor to start the process of getting tested….which is where the next part of the backstory comes in.”

Click here to read the rest of Jenny’s story

If you would like to learn more about your risk of hereditary cancer you can take a quick online quiz at: http://www.hereditarycancerquiz.com