My name is Klaira and this is my story.
I discovered that I had the BRCA1 gene mutation 6 years ago, aged 19. It was very confronting to learn this information at such a young age. I had witnessed my mother experience breast cancer and related treatments 7 years prior, aged 39, and did not meet my grandmother who lost her life to breast cancer aged 32. My older sister, Tiffany, also carries the BRCA1 gene mutation and prior generations of women in our family have prematurely passed away from cancer.
Limited resources and medical advice given to me at the time of my genetic consultation meant that I did not know what to do with this big news and did not seek out medical professionals (besides the occasional manual breast exam) until about 12 months ago. I saw the mutation as a dark cloud that was always there hanging over my head that I could do nothing about and guaranteed tragedy in the not too distant future. I was advised to take no action until around age 24.
Around 24 is when things changed for me. I learnt through a new GP, my breast surgeon and the Pink Hope Conference that I can take control.
I can dramatically reduce the chance of being another woman in my family affected by ‘the curse’. I can be informed.
I can pass on my knowledge and support my fellow high risk peers. I have choices and I am strong enough to face this mutation armed with knowledge and the support of those around me.