Carrying the BCR1/BCR2 genetic code–Breast or Uterine CA Risk-Proactive or Wait?

breast-cancer-organizations-1 Big news today from Angelina Jolie, one of Hollywood’s A list actresses as well as World philanthropist (LINK to Angelina Jolie News Re: Faulty BCR1 gene). She came forth to share her fairly recent findings of abnormal genetic BCR1 code and her consequent choice to undergo bilateral (both) mastectomies. Her mother died young, age 56, from uterine CA. Full well knowing that this could be her, Ms Jolie made the decision to be proactive. Kudos to her for being an inspiration for all women in the ongoing fight against Breast and Ovarian CA.

The decision to be proactive is a scary yet informed route of choice. You can have the risk factors for these genetic anomalies and choose to ignore but the chances of getting breast and/or uterine CA is about “when” not whether you will or won’t. It definitely takes courage to take this approach, especially since most people choosing this route aren’t yet diagnosed with the disease. The weight for most people carrying the genetic mutations and odds of getting the disease, is enough pressure to help most make the decision to be proactive. It’s not just for you, it’s also for those family members you’re setting an example for, that come after you.

The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) describes high risk factors to be “1)strong family history of either Breast Cancer or Uterine Cancer, 2)Abnormal results on a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic test, 3)Personal Hx of Lynch Syndrome and/or a biopsy has shown that you have atypical hyperplasia or Lobular Carcinoma in situ (LCIS).” By a strong family history, they further state “1)2 or more relatives on the same side of your family with breast or ovarian cancer (esp if diagnosed before age 50), 2)Male relative with breast cancer and 3)relative who had had 2 primary breast cancers or has had both breast and ovarian cancer.”

I personally have had Breast CA but didn’t have the genetic mutation, even though a couple of my aunts also had Breast CA and which prompted me to have the genetic test done. I have many friends who had the genetic mutations as well as familial histories of the diseases, who chose to be proactive and who to this day, are more than glad they went that route. There are many options out there for breast reconstruction post mastectomy, if one so chooses.

Highly recommend doing your homework as Educating oneself is empowering. There are also phenomenal websites out there with great information, such as Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, American Cancer Society, Double Whammied Blog,Breast Cancer Blog (International) and Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered. Have a conversation with your primary care health professionals, who can also direct you as to the necessary steps in your healthcare. If your odds are clearly high risk, don’t sit and wait but rather, put out the effort and be preventative. Do this for yourself as well as for your family.

 

 

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