It’s an unsettling feeling to be living under the BRCA2+ cloud – to be a member of the tainted gene pool club.
Most breast cancers are not directly linked to hereditary risk factors; rather most are considered to be sporadic. In fact, less than 10% are attributed to gene mutations. How did I land in this particular minority? I guess that would take some digging…
I remember when my mother learned she was BRCA2+. She felt bad about tarnishing my birthday with breast cancer, and then she felt bad all over again when she learned she had tarnished my genes as well. Not logical thinking, of course, but we women, perhaps especially mothers, are good at that guilt-trip thing.
And, of course, how could I forget the day I learned I am brca2+ as well? That was not a good day. No, it was not.
I do not feel guilty about my tainted genes. That would be like feeling bad about who my parents were wouldn’t it?
However, there is a sort of cloud of gloom that comes with knowing you are BRCA+. The risk of developing cancer during your lifetime is pretty darn high. You know that old saying about the cards being stacked against you…
Suddenly one becomes keenly aware of risk for cancer that quite possibly, maybe even probably, is in one’s future.
It’s sort of like having that very bad forecast for a very bad potential storm down the road. It’s probably coming, you just don’t know exactly when or exactly how bad it will be. You do what you can to prepare, to survive.
And cancer is a very bad shitstorm that anyone would want to avoid if possible. So, I’m not one bit surprised that so many are choosing prophylactic measures to avoid it if at all possible. The cloud can be quite daunting. Again, you do what you can.
My family now lives under this cloud right along with me.
Do I worry about my children, siblings, nieces, nephews and other family members and their cancer risk?
Sure, I do.
Will they all get tested at some point for this mutation?
Probably. But that is up to each of them.
Of course, even testing negative doesn’t remove that cloud. Once cancer has infiltrated your family’s inner circle, the dark cloud will always linger. Nor does testing positive for a gene mutation like BRCA 1 or 2 (and others) mean cancer is a sure thing for you, though it certainly darkens the sky.
Genetic testing is still not a crystal ball.
Hereditary cancer risk for some families is very real. We are making tremendous progress in figuring this stuff out, but there is still much to learn.
Perhaps one day the cloud of hereditary cancer risk will be lifted. And perhaps there will be better options for those trying to avoid the storm. ‘Cuz right now they sorta suck.
Until then, those of us living under this particular gray cloud will listen to the “forecasters”, decipher the information and prepare in the best ways we can.
Is there a dark “cloud” of any type in your family history?
Have you had genetic testing or would you consider it?
To get more articles like this one delivered weekly to your inbox, Click Here! #KeepingItReal #SupportYouCanUse