Knowledge is Power! Facts you need to know about BRCA & Ovarian Cancer #beBRCAware @beBRCAware @SheSpeaksUp #ad

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Very few know that I am an Ovarian Cancer Survivor.  It is not something that one readily talks about in everyday conversation, but I do wear a charm every day of my ribbon to show my support and achievement of beating Ovarian Cancer.  It is a nice way to start the conversation and bring awareness.BRCAware

 

 

 

My story started simple and came with a large curve-ball almost immediately.  While going in for an annual, routine check up in the summer of 2006, my family doctor felt a lump in my abdomen.  Thinking it would be benign, fibroid tumors on my uterus, she still sent me for a CT Scan just to be certain.  Not really worrying to much about it, I went a few days later for my scan.  3 days later, I got the news…my ovaries were severely enlarged and needed to be removed post-haste!!!!  What turned into a normal Friday afternoon…heading home, grab a pizza and catch up on my DVR recordings for the week turned into the most horrific and scary weekend of my life.

Flashes through my head, worst case scenarios playing out in my mind, visions of what would happen to my daughter…all seemed to haunt me that weekend.  Over the next week, I scheduled pre-op visits and other tests of all sorts, including what I now readily know as a CA 125 blood test.

I cried, I planned, I ran a roller coaster of emotions over the next week.  You see, I am the first case in my family to have Ovarian Cancer.  Prior to this, I had never even considered this happening to me.  Having this surgery was the hardest decision I ever made…I could no longer have children if I even wanted to or was able too, but I had to survive for the daughter that I was blessed with.

As much as I am thankful to be here today, I had a second scare in 2012.  It was 6 years to the day that I was told by my oncologist that masses and tumors returned.  I immediately scheduled surgery and all was removed.    Thankfully, they turned out to be benign.

Since then, I have become a voice, an advocate and an activist for Ovarian Cancer awareness.  Imploring every female member of my family, including cousins to get tested.  You see, there is a test you can take that can help in identifying those with an increased risk. Empowering yourself with BRCA knowledge is key and can assist with helping you make decisions on treatments that are available to you.

What is a BRCA gene?
In the simplest of terms, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes involved with cell growth, cell division, and cell repair. Although they are most commonly associated with Breast Cancer, approximately 15% of women with ovarian cancer also have BRCA gene mutations.

#beBRCAware

 

Vital BRCA Facts:

  • Women with BRCA gene mutations have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • In the general population, 1.4 percent of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, while up to 40 percent of women with BRCA 1/2 mutations will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime.
  • An estimated 15% of ovarian cancers are linked to BRCA mutations.
  • BRCA gene mutations can play a key role in serous ovarian cancer, the most common form of ovarian cancer.
  • Nearly one half of women with ovarian cancer who are BRCA-positive have no significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

Who should get tested for the BRCA gene?
Clinical practice guidelines recommend that all women with epithelial ovarian cancer be considered for BRCA testing. The test is is easy and can be preformed by your primary physician.  A blood or saliva sample can be taken at your physician’s office or at a local lab.

Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance carriers cover BRCA testing for women with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Certain mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 can affect how you and your physician choose to manage ovarian cancer.

BRCaware Activist

 

Help spread the word…shout it from the rooftops and tell everyone you know!  Do you know a woman diagnosed with or at risk for ovarian cancer? Show your support by visiting myocjourney.com.  This site provides you with information about diagnosis, BRCA gene testing, treatment plans, and support networks that may be helpful to these women now and can help alert more women to what they need to know about BRCA and ovarian cancer.

In the general population, 1.4 percent of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, while up to 40 percent of women with BRCA 1/2 mutations will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime.  Encourage all women battling ovarian cancer to stay positive and strong.  Become BRCAware and spread the word today.

 Stay up-to-date socially:

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References:
1. Pal T, Permuth-Wey J, Betts JA, et al. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for a large proportion of ovarian carcinoma cases. Cancer. 2005;104(12):2807-2816.

2. National Cancer Institute. BRCA1 and BRCA2: Cancer risk and genetic testing. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA. Accessed June 2, 2014.

3. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Breast and Ovarian. Version 4;2013.2 

4. National Cancer Institute. BRCA1 and BRCA 2: Cancer risk and genetic testing. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA. Last Accessed: October 30, 2014.

5. Petrucelli N, et al.,1998 Sep 4 [Updated 2013 Sep 26]. In: Pagon RA, Adam MP, Bird TD, et al., editors. GeneReviews [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2014.

6. Wang ZC, et al. Profiles of genomic instability in high-grade serous ovarian cancer predict treatment outcome. Clin Cancer Res. 2012;18:5806-5815.

7. Song H., The contribution of deleterious germline mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2 and the mismatch repair genes to ovarian cancer in the population. Human Molecular Genetics 2014;23(17):4703-4709.

 

 

Disclosure: I received $150 from AstraZeneca, and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/AstraZeneca.

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About Kristin

Master reviewer of all types of products. Love XL Fountain Sodas!! Cheer Mom extraordinaire. Socialite to all things small town and founder of ItsFreeAtlast.com. Come socialize and connect with me.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Your post reminds me to watch over my health and value every moment with my family.

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