An Update: Breast Cancer Screening

A little while ago I talked about getting tested for the BRCA gene due a close family history of breast and ovarian cancer. Well the 2 weeks promised result deadline turned into a month...sigh. I was not losing sleep over it, but I did want to know.  The results came in and it was good news. Sort of. 

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First off, I do not have a positive BRCA gene, which means I do not have that 85% risk of developing breast cancer in my lifetime. However, this test does not only test the BRCA gene but several other genes too. A change was found in one of my genes that puts me in a high-risk group of developing breast cancer in the next 5 years. Oh bother, now that’s annoying. Still I did not really freak out, which is not like me. Just did some deep breathing and tried to focus on the information that was being given to me.

The recommendations are that I do lots of surveillance, breast MRI every 6 months alternating with mammogram every 6 months. Deep joy - lots of boob squishing!  But I will do this, it's mildly inconvenient, but relatively noninvasive and the regularity of the imaging gives me comfort that if any of those nasty cancer cells tries to invade my body, it will be caught early.

Also, there was a recommendation to start the drug Tamoxifen right away. This is a med used to prevent breast cancer and to treat those who already have it.  But the risks of some very nasty side effects are high.  I will not be doing this!  I just do not want to put this highly toxic drug in my body.  Now like I have said before, I am not averse to taking drugs and this is a personal decision, so if you are in a similar situation please do not be swayed by my point of view. 

If I had a diagnosis of breast cancer I would pop that tamoxifen pill in my mouth like it was an M&M, but I do not. So I think I am going to go the conservative route for now because quality of life is very important to me. 

Then part of me thinks with this whole genetic coding thing am I just watching the clock until the Big C strikes me.  I remind myself I cannot live like that, fear will keep me stuck and prevent me from enjoying the stuff that gives me deep joy in my life, of which there is an abundance of right now. I am very blessed!

So, me and my boobs are just going to soldier on, getting smooshed, prodded and poked and have a positive attitude and (try) to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Anyone out there going through something similar?  I would love to hear your stories, feel free to post in the comments below.

For the meantime, here’s to boobs, they serve us well.  

Xo

Angie