This is cause for great celebration, for both myself and my entire family. I do not carry the BRCA1 or BRCA 2 genes! (BReast CAncer gene one or BReast CAncer gene two).
Why is this important? Because now I don’t have to agonize over the decision to have more surgery to remove my remaining breast or ovaries. I know, it sounds SO harsh, but as I understand it many women with those genes do have to face that completely agonizing decision. Why? Check out the risks:
The average risk for developing breast cancer is about 12% over a 90-year life span. But women who are BRCA1 or BRCA2 positive have up to an 85% risk of developing breast cancer by age 70.
Additionally, women with these genes are at a high risk for ovarian cancer. Normal risk for ovarian cancer is 1.8%, but according to http://www.breastcancer.org, “The lifetime risk is about 55% for women with BRCA1 mutations and about 25% for women with BRCA2 mutations.” Harsh.
But I don’t have to cross that bridge, hurray!
Now, it doesn’t explain why every woman on my mom’s side of the family has had breast cancer, but I asked the geneticist about that and she said that with the exception of my aunt and myself, the cancers were age-appropriate which sounds horrible to say but it means that those cancers were within the normal risk factors for the age at which they occurred. I hope that’s clear. Also, she said to check back in a few years, as there may be more genes discovered by then that are related to breast cancer. BRCAI and II are just the ones we know about.