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Info on how to know if you inherited a gene for breast and ovarian cancer

How to Know if You Inherited a Risk for Breast and Ovarian Cancer

I inherited the BRCA gene mutation for breast and ovarian cancer. This little gene puts me at high risk for both of these deadly cancers. A lot of people have a gene mutation for breast and ovarian cancer too but they don’t know it. When it comes to inheriting a cancer gene, it’s important to know because the knowledge will probably save your life.

National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Month is October. Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week is September 29-October 2, 2019.

Info on how to know if you inherited a gene for breast and ovarian cancer

Learn more about inherited breast and ovarian cancer genes during National Breast and Ovarian Cancer week (September 29 to October 2 2019).

Knowledge gives you power over these cancers. If you know your risk you can previve the disease.

October 2, 2019 is National Previvor Day.

National Previvor Day celebrates those who have taken the necessary steps to know their risk.

The goal is to raise awareness so that the estimated 750,000 people in the US that have inherited the gene can become previvors instead of survivors. I’m both. I had the highly aggressive form of breast cancer that can run in BRCA families (called high grade triple negative breast cancer). I’m a 6 year survivor of this aggressive breast cancer. I also previved my heightened risk of ovarian cancer by having surgery to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes (also at risk of cancer).

What are the risks of inheriting a gene for breast and ovarian cancer?

Both women and men can carry a hereditary breast and ovarian cancer gene. Men can get breast cancer. They are also at higher risk for prostate cancer. Plus, they can pass the gene to their daughters, who will be at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Both men and women caring a hereditary breast and ovarian cancer gene mutation need to know.

Millions of people in the world carry the BRCA gene mutation or have a family history of one of the other hereditary genes for breast and ovarian cancer (yes there are more genes!). Sadly, most people who carry one of these genes don’t know it.

How bad is it to inherit a gene for breast and ovarian cancer?

Carrying a cancer gene for breast or ovarian cancer is not the end of the world, but knowing about it is really important. If you have a gene for it, your in good company. I carry one – and so far I’m still alive. Angelina Jolie carries one and she rocks for her work on raising awareness.

In the USA, 1 in 400 people carry the BRCA gene mutation (remember there are other genes!).

Among people with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, the risk rises to 1 in 40.

What are the signs that you might have a gene for breast and ovarian cancer?

Learn the signs that you, or someone you care about, might have inherited a gene for breast and ovarian cancer . I created this infographic to help:

BRCA infographic for risk of breast and ovarian cancer inheritance

What is the main organization that supports people who inherited a gene for breast and ovarian cancer?

Fortunately, there is an exceptional organization that supports education, awareness, and medical research to benefit those of us with one of these genetic mutations. It’s called FORCE, which stand for Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered – empowered with knowledge so we can prevent the cancer by taking appropriate steps with our health such as screening exams and risk-reducing surgeries.

Why I support FORCE.

I donate money to FORCE every month, and have since my diagnosis of breast cancer. I do it through the sale of my Chemotherapy Skin Care Kit. FORCE was there for me when I needed them. FORCE gave me information and cancer treatment options that were a huge help. My gratitude for them goes well beyond words.

Dermatologist and breast cancer survivor Dr. Bailey's Chemotherapy Skin Care Kit

Every Chemotherapy Skin Care Kit sends 50% of the net proceeds to FORCE. I developed the kit during the grueling 4 months of ‘scorched earth’ chemo that saved my life. As a dermatologist and physician I knew that skin problems could lead to life threatening infections while my immune system was taken to the brink of survival. Chemo patients have skin problems because of chemo. The skin problems can be life threatening. My kit is a game changer for chemo skin care by providing hypoallergenic, dermatologist developed skin care for chemo patients – it’s a comfort and helpful to anyone facing chemo.

It touches me to be of help to chemo patients currently walking the path I walked in 2013. Every word of gratitude is cherished by my team and I.

I sent my cousin the Chemotherapy Skin Care Kit and she said it saved her from going insane. Chemotherapy had caused her feet to itch constantly and she had scratched until she was bleeding. One application of products and she found instant relief. She used soft cotton socks over the balm when sleeping. Thank you for providing this wonderful gift that we can give our loved ones going through chemotherapy.


My mother had beautiful skin, fine and thin, and chemotherapy and radiation made her skin hypersensitive to everything. I am so grateful for your cancer friendly products; they were lifesaving for us. When a person with cancer is dealing with everything else, the last thing you want is that extra problem.

Another friend of mine currently has stage 4 lung cancer and he too is using your kit. It is helping him and he’s a guy so for him to “squeal” about skin care is a huge thing!

Patricia A

HBOC stands for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

There are three easy ways you can help help support research, education and advocacy for the many people in the HBOC 'community' (it really does feel like a community once you 'join' it!). Your support will also help spread awareness so that other people who have inherited one of these genes can learn about their risk and previve the cancers.

  1. Share this post with anyone you think is interested in breast and ovarian cancer, or who may be at higher risk. Your share will raise awareness. Use the share buttons on the side or top of the page.
  2. Send the Chemotherapy Skin Care Kit as a gift to someone undergoing chemotherapy and I’ll send FORCE the donation. You'll be helping your friend or loved one keep their skin healthy through chemo and you'll be helping FORCE too!
  3. Donate directly to FORCE and they will continue to support awareness, advocacy and research for these common and horrible cancers.

Join me this week and this month in supporting breast and ovarian cancer advocacy, awareness and research. Let’s save someone the agony of chemo – trust me, it leaves lasting side effects that are life changing. Those of us women carrying one of the high-risk genes for breast and ovarian cancer say this,

dermatologist Dr. Bailey BRCA cancer survivor and previvor

Our only real choice is whether we have our double mastectomy and ovary/tube removal with or without chemo!

Cynthia Bailey, MD, BRCA breast cancer survivor and ovarian cancer previvor

Think about that for a minute and let it sink in – it takes at least a few seconds. I would have preferred my surgery without the chemo, but I’m grateful to be 6 years out and still here to write this.