Breast cancer is about more than pink. It’s more than race day, tutus and even pink ribbons.
It’s a horrible disease that will affect 1 in 8 women.
Although I’m not a breast cancer survivor myself, I lived breast cancer everyday alongside my mother who, I’m so thankful to say, is a survivor. As a Mohawk associate, I’ve appreciated the organization’s contribution to Susan G. Komen. However, the importance of the mission didn’t full resonate with me until two years ago.
We all have days in our lives that we will never forget; Days that surprise, delight, shape, rattle, ruin or change our course. For me, the world changed on April 13, 2013, with an early morning call on my cell phone.
“Mollie,” my Mom said, breathless. “My doctor just called, and I have breast cancer.”
We both cried. We got mad. And then we decided to fight. That day, and that phone call, changed everything.
During the course of my mom’s treatment, I made the decision to research the inherited risk of breast cancer- both for my daughter and myself. Today, genetic testing is so advanced that specific testing can reveal gene mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Women who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have an increased risk of both breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Most recently, mega-celebrity Angelina Jolie raised awareness around this topic while undergoing a preventive double mastectomy and breast reconstruction after learning she possessed a r BRCA 1 gene mutation. Her Mother, Marcheline Bertrand, suffered from breast and ovarian cancer for more than eight years. She eventually succumbed to the disease in 2007, and passed away at the age of 56.
If breast cancer is a factor in your family history, you may be considering genetic counseling or testing. Susan G. Komen shares valuable research and information about testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, including a list of questions to ask your doctor about the inherited risk of breast cancer.
While my personal BRCA testing did not reveal a gene mutation, there are still so many positive steps I can take to reduce my risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise, eating healthy foods and adapting other healthy lifestyle behaviors are top on the list. My risk of breast cancer will remain an ongoing conversation with my healthcare provider, and I will make sure my daughter is aware of her family history.
One day, my hope is that there will be a cure for breast cancer. Until then, let’s all work together to be proactive in educating, advocating, and funding the fight against this terrible disease.