Genetic update – the good, the bad, the no-brainer

Here’s an update from my October 25th post….Is Genetic Testing TMI? My medical history is quite fascinating and “curious” I’ve been told by those in the medical field. So after being persuaded by a hematologist/oncologist, I finally had a consultation with a genetic counselor.

There are new guidelines for breast cancer patients…it is recommended to have genetic testing if someone has had breast cancer before the age of 50.  Mine was diagnosed right before my 41st birthday.   What they look for is any alteration or mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCB2 genes, and can be inherited from either your mother or father.  If there is a BRCA mutation, you have 56-87% chance of getting breast cancer and 27-44% of getting ovarian cancer.

  • The Good — the women in my family live a very long time. My paternal grandmother is 93 and her sisters are 90 and 88. Their health issues are basically limited to arthritis. My mother has had no major health issues and still going strong.  My maternal grandmother died young while giving childbirth, but my maternal great-grandmother lived to be 92.
  • The Bad — My father died of stomach and throat cancer. This was attributed to environmental factors from the Vietnam War, such as Agent Orange.
  • The No-brainer — I am 25% Asian and that will skew the genetic test results.  And based on my heritage, the genetic counselor told me there’s a 5% chance that I have mutated BRCA1 or BRCB2 genes.  So why go through this expense and stress of waiting ?

I plan to continue with my check-ups, eating right, and exercising.  And most of all…enjoying life everyday!


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