I’m not a big social media person, consider me old school. I decided to look for my siblings that had been separated at a very young age and found my sister on there. I reached out and although she refers to us as “blood only” sisters, she was kind enough to let me know she had not only had breast cancer, but she also had skin cancer and had been through numerous surgeries. She suggested that I get an DNA test because she knew she carried a cancer gene.
When you aren’t sure which gene you have, and she was unwilling to call her doctor to find out the specific gene, a full DNA panel is required, which runs around 3K. If you know the specific gene, the test is closer to $300. I had the full panel ran and discovered I was positive for the BRCA2 gene and was referred to an oncologist. My sister also let me know I could pass this on to both my children, male and female, as well as my granddaughter. I would have never thought men could also carry the same cancer gene.
After meeting with my oncologist, here were my options: do nothing and have an 85-90% chance of not only getting breast cancer, but I could also get ovarian cancer. If I removed only my ovaries, it cut my risk to about 50% but then I would also have to take Tamoxifen for the rest of my life which is a highly toxic cancer prevention drug and I would have to have a yearly CT scan. The dye used in the scans could damage my only kidney. It was a simple decision for me at that point and I didn’t hesitate. I prayed about it and scheduled appointments to talk to other surgeons about upcoming surgeries I would need, and the pros and cons.