Another AC contributor was willing to share her personal experience with breast cancer. R.C. Johnson’s sister is fighting breast cancer. As a matter of fact she had her surgery today. Here isR.C.Johnson’s Story as told to me via email:
“Cancer, which has been the leading cause of death in my family, has reared its ugly head once more with the diagnosis of breast cancer that my remaining sibling recently received. Although she had been faithful in getting mammograms, the cancer was found not because of those tests, but because she noticed a slight discharge from her right nipple.
A biopsy confirmed the cancer, and she then underwent a lumpectomy. When tissue from that was sent to the Mayo Clinic, it was determined that she would need to have a mastectomy, which is scheduled for October 11Th.
The surgeon will determine whether or not there is a need for chemo or radiation based on the findings made during the mastectomy.
My sister’s husband and one of their daughters are cancer survivors, so she is well aware of the rigors that might lie ahead. She lives a distance from me so I will be unable to be of direct assistance to her throughout all of this; however, her family, friends and fellow church members will be there every step of the way. And because prayer knows no distance, in that way I will be there with her also.
Update as of 10/11/2010
Just a quick update: My sister’s surgery on Monday went well, and she was told the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes. She will learn at a later consultation whether chemo or radiation will be done, but at this time it is expected that radiation alone will be the next course of action.
Dealing with cancer is a one-day-at-a-time thing, so as of this day, we are happy that the surgery is behind her.
Thanks so much for your concern, good wishes and prayers!
Thank you so much for sharing your sister’s story with us R.C.
Family Incidence of Breast Cancer-Understanding BRCA1 and BRCA2
If you’ve read about breast cancer or heard anything on TV, you’re sure to have heard the terms BRCA1 and BRCA2. However, you may be wondering just what they are. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that would normally help stop cancer cells from growing. However, if the genes ( BRCA1 and BRCA2) have a mutation, you don’t have that protection. That’s why you hear of families having more than one person having breast cancer in them. When the incidence is high in a family it is most likely due to a mutation to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Unfortunately, women with this mutation tend to get breast cancer earlier and it is now being said they also have a higher risk of ovarian cancer as well. According to the American Cancer Society: “The risk may be as high as 80% for members of some families with BRCA mutations.”
There are other gene mutations that can cause breast cancer but the risk is not as high. These are as follows:
ATM-Usually helps repair damaged DNA. If a mutation is inherited from one parent has been linked to a higher breast cancer incidence within the family.
p53-A tumor suppressor gene. People who inherit this gene are at a higher risk not only for breast cancer, but numerous other cancers as well.
CHEK2-Having this mutation can cause your risk for breast cancer to double.
PTEN- The purpose this gene has is to regulate cell growth. A mutation in this gene causes a higher risk for malignant and benign breast issues. It also causes a host of other health problems.
CDH1-inherited mutations in this gene have a increased risk of invasive lobular breast cancer.
To Genetic Test or Not To Genetic Test
This is a very, very personal choice. There are both pros and cons to genetic testing. It is not a given, in most cases, that you will develop breast cancer if you have these mutations of the genes. Some however, do have a much higher risk. This can only be decided by you with the help of your family and doctor and prayers, or meditation, or whatever you rely on to clear your mind. This is not to be taken lightly. Making the decision to get genetic testing more likely than not will lead to lifetime decisions. That is why it is such a personal choice. Only you can live with the end result of the testing.
I will say that if I was recommended genetic testing, I would not think twice. Any chance I have to catch anything early and prevent, I will do. That is just my own personal preference though.
R.C. Johnson’s Experience