The Legacy of Breast Cancer

Some of you might remember that I lost my mom to breast cancer 9 years ago. Back then, there was no test available to determine if aside from her good looks, I had also inherited the cancer genes.

Today’s technology now allows survivor’s daughters and family members to test themselves for the breast cancer gene. After her two bouts with the disease, survivor Betsey Sauer had her 4 daughters tested for the gene and 3 out of 4 tested positive. This means that her daughters are at a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. While these results may not be the most ideal, it does give Betsey’s daughters the information they need to make decisions about their breast health today.

And that’s just what they did.

Two of Betsey’s daughters chose to undergo preventive double mastectomies and oophorectomies (removal of the ovaries). Jenny and Kristin did not want to have their own families experience the suffering they did after watching their mother battle cancer twice.  Their younger sister Megan wasn’t as lucky. She was diagnosed with cancer before she had a chance to undergo the operation. At 27 years old, Megan was thankful that she knew about her cancer genes. It was because of this knowledge that underwent regular breast check-ups and her cancer was caught early.

Daughters of survivors are at a special risk of developing breast cancer. Genetic screening is a painless way to know what your odds are, and it may very well give you the power to do everything you can to protect yourself from it.

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