My name is Jess and this is my story.
I am in the high risk category for breast cancer. The reason I am in this category is due to my family history:
– My mother, maternal Aunt and Grandmother have all had breast cancer.
– My Aunt was diagnosed at the age of 25 and then again at 32. She has now had a double mastectomy and is cancer clear.
– My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 43, she underwent a lumpectomy, chemo and radio and so far is okay (she was diagnosed 5 years ago when I was pregnant with my first daughter).
– My grandmother was first diagnosed at the age of 61 (also 5 years ago) and then was diagnosed with secondary cancer at 63, tertiary cancer at 65, which she had been living with however is now losing her battle.
With this high family history and having two girls of my own to look out for I have begun the process of seeking advice on whether a prophylactic mastectomy would be a good preventative measure for me. I have my first genetic counselling appointment in late January (seven weeks from today).
I am a big believer in not keeping this process quiet, behind closed doors, as I believe that it leads to misinformation and stigmas. I hope that my story can help others in their decision making process, and that we can make more people aware that being proactive and aware will make a big difference when it comes to breast cancer.
Jess’ Update October 2013
After discussing my options with the genetic counsellor and a breast surgeon I will be undertaking a prophylactic mastectomy in the coming years, due to having small children and the timing to be right with them. My current journey turns to surveillance of my breasts, which is not taken lightly – monthly self examinations, 6 monthly ultra sounds, yearly MRIs and if any changes are noticed I will undergo my procedure earlier.
I am extremely passionate about raising Pink Hopes profile as prevention is always better than cure!