Our genes are not our fate – Dean Ornish MD
I am the only one in my immediate family who has been tested so far that I know of. On the 28th September 2015, I found out I was BRCA1 positive.
Its a weird one really. I often get compliments about how I look like my mum and the first thing people say is “you’ve got good genes” – a lovely thing to say as my mothership is one of the most beautiful women I know both inside and out…but yet …that saying is almost tainted for me, because its my genes that are the flippin’ problem here! Obviously no one that says it is to know and I dont for a minute want for anyone to feel like that couldn’t say it to me, as the sentiment is 100% lovely and as I say, I consider it a compliment!
But… on the flip side, its like a short sharp reminder of whats going on inside my body and I feel like I have no real control over it, without taking drastic action with major surgeries and putting my body (and mind) through an awful lot of trauma.
One thing that some people aren’t aware of, is that we all carry this gene and the problem actually lies within the gene mutation that BRCA1+ and BRCA2+ carriers have. So technically, when the media gives you a label “you’ve got the breast cancer gene” , what it should really say is ” you have a dodgy BRCA gene” (I hate the word mutated, just seems so brutal and ugly- I prefer dodgy or broken, seems to take the harshness out of the label for me personally). This means that I have a greatly increased chance of getting breast cancer (87%) and ovarian cancer (44%) vs the national average of 12% for breast cancer and 1.3% for ovarian.(These figures can vary slightly from source to source but these seems to be what crop up the most)
The dodgy BRCA gene isn’t the only one that can cause this increased likelihood of getting it, so if you do have a strong history of family cancer and BRCA faults are not to blame, it could be that another mutation is lurking close by. Its not a nice thought I know, but, with knowledge comes power and the ability to make informed choices about how you choose to monitor your own situation and potentially reduce your own risks of falling victim to such a dreadful and life changing disease.