I am a breast cancer survivor.
I’m also a BRCA 1 mutation carrier, meaning my parents gave me life, along with a gene that puts me at very high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. There are other genes that increase a person’s risk for these cancers.
There are genes that put people at risk for other cancers, too. Some of the genes we know about, such as BRCA. Others are yet to be identified and discovered. It’s why cancer advocacy is so important.
When I saw the BRCA cancer experts at Stanford for treatment advice back in 2013, I was feeling really sorry for myself because I was one of the unlucky people who carry a BRCA mutation.
Dr. Kurian, who is AMAZING, told me that, “On average, we think that people carry at least five or six genes that predispose them to some horrible disease. At least you know one of yours.” Wow, that was a reframe! Yes, I had breast cancer. But, I also knew I needed to previve ovarian cancer by having my fallopian tubes and ovaries out.
Previving means doing something preventative BEFORE disease strikes.
I previved ovarian cancer. My maternal grandmother did not; she died at age 55 of it. I never met her.
October 3, 2018 is Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Previvor’s Day.
Because we know about the genes that carry higher risk of these deadly cancers, we can previve the cancers. Because we know how to more successfully treat the very aggressive breast cancer I had, called high-grade triple-negative, I made five years cancer-free this August.
That means I’m cured because this type of cancer is fast growing and aggressive. I’m doubly grateful, and I’m a big advocate of raising money for cancer research and patient support!
Since 2013, I’ve given 50% of profits from my Chemotherapy Skin Care Kit to FORCE, the advocacy organization for the HBOC (hereditary breast and ovarian cancer) community.
I’ve also participated in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Event, raising money for that important advocacy organization, as well. The event is actually fun! Both of these organizations support cancer research and provide important information for cancer patients. I depended on them both during The Cancer Year.
Please join me in supporting cancer advocacy.
Donate to FORCE, The American Cancer Society, or the cancer advocacy organization that’s most helpful to those nearest and dearest to your heart.
As a doctor, I know I would not have survived high-grade, triple-negative breast cancer if I was diagnosed with it 35 years ago when we treated it during my medical-school training. Women were treated, made very sick and still died. I thought that would be me when I was diagnosed in 2013.
It wasn’t. I tolerated the chemo really well – well enough to develop my Chemotherapy Skin Care Kit while under treatment. I was never sick enough that my doctors needed to alter or lower my chemo doses, never vomited or went through what I saw women go through in the 1980s, all because of advances in cancer treatment. That takes support. Please join me.