In support of Nancy's fight with Cancer and for all of us affected by cancer, I wanted to share a bit of my story about HBOC- or Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer.
After our Smith family had genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, we discovered that two of the four stunning Smith sisters had inherited the mutant gene from the Boococks and two hadn't. I, Andi, am the other mutant sister in what Nancy and I call "The Mutant Club." Mom and Grammy Boocock are also members of long standing. Yesterday, one of my children was identified as the newest mutant club member.
After my genetic testing, I found I had inherited the same deleterious mutant gene on chromosome 13 as my mother, grandmother and Nancy. Now, we know at least one of my 3 kids also has this mutation. We all are Braca 2 positive. We have inherited a high risk for breast and ovarian cancer.
Nancy's plea for support has inspired me to share this information.
Yesterday, while my child, and I were discussing the positive genetic results with a genetic counsellor and oncologist, we opined that in years to come there may be simple blood test to proactively detect cancer. I was then told of a current research study at Maine Medical to study a protein they think may be just such a marker for proactive identification of breast cancer or ovarian cancer "carriers". Being Braca 2 positive, I was eligible to participate in this study, so I had a blood draw for this research study after our meeting.
This message is my round about way of saying how I second Nancy's plea for support of the Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. In the future research may stop this disease from being inherited and passed on, or may identify it by a routine blood test before it can harm anyone.
I think knowledge is power. Knowing we are Braca 2 positive, My child and I can now be proactive in our fight against cancer. My child was told they can now even do genetic testing on embryos to determine if they have inherited the Braca 2 gene.
I had to weigh my risks and received great counselling in deciding how I would be proactive about my inherited cancer risk. In January 2010, at age 59, I had my first surgery. I had a laparasopic bilateral salpingo oopherectomy (BSO), or the removal of my ovaries and tubes. It was a cinch. They were benign and now my chance of getting ovarian cancer is drastically reduced. The BSO is a "no brainer" proactive surgery recommended by all the MDs talked to as the best preventative measure for Braca 2 positive people who have already had their children.
On April 9, 2010, I am having a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Being Braca 2 positive, my risk of getting breast cancer by age 70 is up to 87%. I have seen first hand the suffering of Nancy and others with Cancer and hope to not share that horrible fight. I'm a chicken, so I would rather loose my famous "Boocock Boobs". On the positive side, at 60, I will have the breasts of a 19 year old.
So my request is twofold: Support Nancy's fight and the American Cancer Society; and, Boococks; get HBOC testing! Knowledge is power.