Well, I was kind of hoping there wouldn’t be a Part 3 of this…I wasn’t going to bore you anymore with BRCA talk, but I got the results back from gene testing, and I do have a BRCA1 gene mutation.
This does not come as a surprise to me. The doctors and the geneticist prepared us for the high probability of a positive test for the gene mutation.
I have been comforted by Psalm 139 as I’ve awaited these results, particularly these verses:
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
So, let’s put this into perspective. Current statistics show that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. However, if a woman has a BRCA mutation she has at least a 1 in 2 chance of developing breast cancer (and generally-speaking, it is an earlier occurring cancer than in the general population).
The mutation is a game-changer for me, my siblings, my children, and many of my relatives.
- Chance of cancer recurrence in other breast *by age 79* = >50%
- Chance of ovarian cancer = *around 45% at most and some reporting shows around a 15% chance if you’ve already had breast cancer*
So then, I opt for:
- Bilateral mastectomy, NOW (when chemo is finished) and
- Possible ovary removal by 40 years old as there is no reliable screening method for ovarian cancer in early stages
- Immediate genetic testing
- Clinical breast exam every six months + mammogram every year OR prophylactic mastectomy *IF they test positive for the gene*
- Genetic testing to follow (there is a 50% chance they also carry the mutation)
- If BRCA positive, any of their offspring will also be tested, as there is also then a 50% chance that their child has the mutation
- Additionally, there is an increased risk of male breast cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer, so enhanced screening for these cancers.
*Thanks to the Duke Hereditary Cancer office for helping me make these important corrections/distinctions that were inaccurate in my original post!!*