Tuesday, September 2, 2008

To Know or not To Know????

BRCA1 A gene on chromosome 17 that normally helps to suppress cell growth. A person who inherits an altered version of the BRCA1 gene has a higher risk of getting breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer.

Why be concerned?
A mutation in the BRCA1 gene confers an 85% chance of developing breast cancer during a woman’s lifetime, and a 44% risk of developing ovarian cancer. Women without these mutations have a 10% (breast) and 1% (ovarian) risk. ...

How do you know if you have the mutated gene?
Family history plays a role in the development of breast cancer. You are more likely to have breast cancer if your mother, father, or sister has breast cancer. Also, women who carry certain genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2 are more likely to have breast cancer. If you have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, you may want to be tested for these genes. People who inherit specific changes, or mutations, in one or both of these genes have a greater risk of developing breast cancer.

Genetic testing for BRCA1 mutations is commercially available through Myriad Genetics, a private company that holds at least 17 patents worldwide on BRCA mutation testing. The cost starts at $325 for an analysis of a single mutation site in relatives of an individual with an identified mutation. Although many health insurance plans will pay all or part of the cost of genetic testing for BRCA mutations, some individuals choose to self-pay because they are afraid of insurance and employment discrimination. Others apply for assistance from the Myriad Financial Assistance (Hardship) Program or charitable organizations, such as local and state breast cancer support programs. Individuals and families involved in research concerning BRCA mutations may be able to get BRCA testing done at little or no cost.


Why am I concerned about this?
I have always been interested in women's health issues. There have always been "cancers" in my family. Now, my mother has had the genetic testing and it was revealed that she has the mutated BRCA1 gene. Now the question is.... To Test or Not... To Know or Not. Well, the mom in me says, yes you must for your children. It is a hereditary trait. My daughter deserves to know. If I am a carrier of this mutated gene, then she needs to start doing yearly mamograms NOW. She is only 27. She has 2 daughters. My sons deserve to know. If I am a carrier of this mutated gene, then they also need to be more dilegent in looking for signs. Men do get breast cancer. Also the likelyhood of prostrate cancer is more prevelant in BRCA1 carriers.

My Mom recently had the tumor removed from her breast. It was discovered through her yearly mamogram. The surgery itself was not a real big deal. Same day, home by evening. The thing that bothers me is that during all of this, a lymph node was supposed to be located. The day before the surgery she was injected with a nuclear medicine. This material is radioactive and shows up on xray and ultrasound. The medical professionals that did the injection led us to believe that the solution had done and gone where it was supposed to. The next day before the actual surgery, there were additional ultrasounds to mark for the surgeon the location of the lymph node. The markings and the wire supposed leading to this node were done. The surgeon did the pre op check and all looked good to go. Then she went to surgery and the doctor tried to follow the path to the node and was unable. 2 different sets of medical professionals did not do their job. The solution did not travel and mark the node. They made a guess and left the surgeon unable to locate it. This is upsetting because the lymph nodes are the bodies garbage collector. Analyzing the node would tell us if the cancer from the tumor was spreading. If the node was clean, the radiation could most probably iradicate the cancer cells in the area the tumor was removed. She still would have to do the Chemo, but prognosis would have been better. Now she may have to undergo another surgical procedure to try to find that lymph node. Meanwhile time slips by....

On another note.... I bet you all did not know I could be so wordy!!!!! ha ha.... thanks for your thoughts and prayers!


  1. excellent info. that was very informative.

  2. Testing is very personal. I did it, and with my family history I was convinced it would be positive. It was negative. But that being said these are the genes we know about. My profile will some day help others, that is my prayer. That when they find the next set my dna would help a breast cancer patient before it strikes.

    www.facingourisk.org is an excellent site for figuring it out. She is an online bud of mine.

  3. Hi Christina,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and for the very kind comments you left behind. Your article on breast cancer and what causes it is so clearly written and factually presented. You did a remarkable research on the subject. I feel though that most moneyed people rely more on human wisdom and expertise than on divine protection and care. I have entrusted my fate and health to God and He has taken care of me all these years. Want to exchange links and subscribe to email feeds? Thanks so much and God bless.

  4. Hi Christina, Just heard about my Dad's "tests"...seems as tho none of the Drs are on the same page! So, more tests next week, more Dr consultations...
    and like you say..."..Meanwhile time slips by.."
    My heart goes out to you!
    {{{BIG HUGS}}}

  5. I know you don't know me, I was just searching blogs for Myriad. I currently work at Myriad in SLC where the lab is. I don't work in the lab part, I do the data entry right when the blood comes from FEDEX. My department enters it into the system. I think that Myriad has done an EXCELLENT job and has helped so many people! Anything I can do to help out, please feel free to ask..

  6. Very good information with alot important info.

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  7. Thankyou for your comment on my blog, and on reading this post, it is very close to my heart. I have one of the pink ribbons on my desktop to remind me to visit each day, to add a little bit as a donation for this wonderful course.
    This is a wonderful way to remind yourself each day.
    Your blog is wonderful.


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