Unless you´re living under a rock you´ve probably heard about Angelina Jolie´s medical choice by now. Her mother fought breast cancer and died at 56 a couple of years ago. So, as a mother of six kids she decided to have a preventive double mastectomy after she had her genes tested and found out she
carries the BRCA1 gene which increases the risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
I am sure only few of you have heard of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene but chances are you might carry it if your mother or grandmother or even aunts in your direct paternal or maternal bloodline had breast cancer!
My mother´s sister died only four months after her 32nd birthday after fighting cancer for three years – my cousins were only 4 and 6 years old when they lost their mother. My oldest cousin developed breast cancer shortly after giving birth to her first kid and died at the age of 26.
My father´s sister died by the age of 36, just weeks after she got diagnosed with breast cancer. She had no kids.
About five years ago my doctor suggested to get my blood tested because of my family history with cancer and unlike Angelina Jolie I can´t afford those pricey blood tests but I am relieved that the General Hospital in Vienna runs a funded program for risk patients. It might take a few years to get your results, but you will get them.
Angelina Jolie decided – like many women before – to go through the process of a double mastectomy after her doctors estimated her risk at 87 percent of breast cancer and 50 percent of ovarian cancer, although the percentage is different for every woman.
I will get my results in a couple of weeks and so far only a few people knew. We talked the inevitable talk of
When my test results turn out to be negative in terms of BRCA1, I still – as every non-genetically affected woman – can develop breast cancer and cancer in general. That doesn´t mean that there is no treatment as we all know, but experiencing loss early on in my life left me scared and also wondering for that matter if this could happen to me to…
Maybe my aunt had her blood tested if that would have been an option 20 years ago. I have the chance to be proactive now and therefore I am. I was!
Angelina Jolie´s decision is all over the news today. They discuss it on the radio and people are quick to say she made a mistake that there was no reason for her to do this but I disagree.
She witnessed her mother die, who fought cancer for almost a decade; she´s a mother herself and a young woman who is proactive and made this very conscious choice. She´s the heroine of her own life and for her family!
(Photo via Max Wanger)