Today is the second day of Breast Cancer awareness month. While I haven’t been affected personally by breast cancer, I have been a caregiver for someone who has had breast cancer dn people I love have had breast cancer. I am also BRCA2 gene mutation positive. This means I have a 69% chance of developing breast cancer vs 12 % of the general population. I am also at 17% risk for developing ovarian cancer vs 1.3% of the general population.
These numbers are statistics that, while I don’t think about specifically, I do think about my elevated risk. I used to think I was one of the lucky ones with my mom and my grandmother getting diagnosed older in their 60s or 70s, but then my mom’s cousin got diagnosed in her 50s and probably early to mid 50s at that. She also has the mutation that my mom and I have. I still didn’t think much about it, but then I had my biopsy scare and now I think about it often.
I have an appointment to discuss prophylactic chemo, like tamoxifen. I need to schedule an appointment to discuss an oophorectomy and possibly a hysterectomy. The thing that I really need to do, is work on the holistic way to treat this mutation. I have been starting to work on being more mindful. I am working on trying to make mindfulness a habit. The thing is, mindfulness isn’t just meditation, it’s all about being present in the moment and enjoying the things you love. For me, being mindful is about meditation, but it’s also about following my passions for food, gardening, creativity, and other holistic health ideas.
Today, I checked my messages and I had a saved message from the office where I will be seeing a breast cancer specialist. It was actually really hard to hear a message from a cancer center. I know that I don’t have cancer and I can’t even imagine what it must be like to actually have cancer, but I want to make sure that I do everything in my power to make sure that I lessen my risk of cancer. For me, that means that I need to learn about the different options from a western perspective as well as more about more holistic and complementary practices. I need to learn more about the Mediterranean diet, which I think is probably the best, healthiest diet between the foods you eat and the way you eat it.
In 3-4 weeks, I get to go away for a weekend by myself. I’m really excited, but also nervous. I am really excited to talk and learn about treatment options. There are going to be specialists as well as people who have the gene mutation. How significant is it that I do something or can I wait? What are the effects of these prophylactic choices, not just medically, by psychologically and psychosocially?
What are your thoughts on prophylactic medical choices when one is at risk for cancer, but hasn’t been diagnosed with cancer? Do you have thoughts on this?