Monday, 18 June 2012

Genetic Testing.

A few months ago I had my first meeting with a Genetics specialist from Oxford at Northampton General Hospital., regarding a possible genetic link between my sister's breast cancer and my ovarian cancer. We were, she said, both 'young' to have suffered our respective cancers, I loved her immediately!  We chatted about family histories and such. There were , she said, some possible links (surprisingly to me though, no breast or ovarian cancers)  BRCA genes are tumour suppressing genes and help DNA repair, therefore when they mutate and stop doing this there is an much increased risk of cancer.

from ebeauty
I was given the rather bleak information regarding my outlook should I test positive for BRCA 1 or 2. Having already lost my ovaries did help, as my risks for breast cancer were halved, but remember I've already had ovarian cancer!  She said some women choose to have prophylactic mastectomies. I had already pondered this, and my decision was a definite NO to it. I would deal with breast cancer if it occurred. Anyway, as I had already decided I wanted to be tested, I went off and queued up at the Blood Taking clinic and dropped the sample off in outpatients for the specialist to take back to Oxford.
Today, my sister and I travelled to Northampton to get the results.
Our relief, when we were told that I did not have either BRCA gene, was enormous. I certainly felt that a weight had been lifted from me. I need no longer worry about how it might affect my daughter or my granddaughters.
Going to have genetic testing is not easy, there are many things to be considered, not least what one does with the information. I needed to know, I needed to find out.
Now I do know. The world is a wonderful place.