My name is Elise and this is my story.
I am 25 and I have the BRCA 1 genetic mutation. I had a preventative mastectomy in June this year. I also work as a journalist at the ABC.
My mother currently has incurable ovarian cancer and my grandmother and great grandmother both had breast cancer.
I found it hard to decide whether or not to have surgery and struggled with a lack of information about the actual cancer risks for younger women.
I made my decision with the knowledge that at 25, although my lifetime risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer is high, my current risk is still low. I always knew I would get a preventative mastectomy at some point, I just wanted it sooner rather than later to get it over with so I can move on with the rest of my life.
I don’t have children but after I do I will have my ovaries removed some time before I turn 40.
I think it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of hereditary cancer and the tragedy of losing family members. I think its important women focus on the facts and have access information and support from medical professionals.
As genetic testing improves and becomes more accessible more young women will be faced with the decisions I have struggled with this past year. I decided to share my story in the hope it would help other women, raise awareness and ultimately improve access to counselling.
Pink Hope is a place where you can find support and information to help on your journey.
Surgery definitely isn’t the answer for everyone but I think it is vital women take control of their health and are proactive when it comes to genetic testing and surveillance.