After my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and subsequently tested positive for the BRCA1 gene, I was tested and found out I also had the gene (which has been shown to greatly increase lifetime risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer). I chose to be proactive and schedule a prophylactic mastectomy and hysterectomy before I was diagnosed with either breast or ovarian cancer. I had 2 MRI’s prior to surgeries…one at 6 months before and the last one 2 weeks prior to mastectomy surgery. My MRI’s showed perfectly clear scans. Amazingly enough after my surgery, both my reconstruction and breast surgeon said everything looked clear.
No additional treatment was needed…ie radiation or chemotherapy. Two weeks later, the lab came back saying they had found a pencil tip size, very fast growing ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Because it was removed during surgery, no further treatments were ever necessary. This all occurred over 5 years ago. I have not had any further occurrences of any kind.
This experience has made me an advocate for speaking out on testing for BRCA 1 gene. I have shared my story many times. I have two daughters and five grandchildren. I want them to have every available resource so if they have this gene, they have multiple choices for treatment and/or cures.
With continued research, hopefully someday soon, there won’t be a need for radical surgeries….there will be other options available to people with this gene.