Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Response to an e-mail question today

I received an e-mail from someone wanting to know what my thoughts were on having a double mastectomy for women that are at risk or who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Also, what I thought about having the BRAC analysis test done. I am no expert in these areas and this is the limited response I sent back to her.

HI ~ there will be a lot of different factors to consider about weather or not to have a double mastectomy. For instance the type of cancer, if it is an aggressive cancer or a hereditary cancer. Honestly the best thing to do is to discuss the pros and cons with the oncologist. For instance, I had a mastectomy ( was considering going back to have the other side removed) but before that happened I found out the cancer had come back. However, a double mastectomy would not have made a difference as it had spread from the original site to my rib and spine ( having nothing to do with the other side). It is a hard decision.

On the BRAC analysis test~ it again is a personal decision. My current thoughts on it are If you have a family member/ members that have had breast cancer it would probably be a good idea to have the test OR ask your family member if she knows if that test was performed on her. If she is negative, I may not have the test. If positive, I would. Here's why; there are many things you can do if you know ahead of time that you carry the gene ( including the double mastectomy). I know that sounds so huge to consider but IF you did carry the gene, and ended up with breast cancer you may feel differently then about what you might have done. Nothing is 100% with BC. Again, good things to discuss with a doctor, ob/gyn or even an oncologist.

One of my friends (in her 30's) was diagnosed with BC. Because of her age they did do the BRAC Analysis test which came back negative. She wanted to know because she has daughters, so that is another thing to consider are daughters and granddaughters. Even if a family member is positive it does not mean all daughters will have it. One family had a mom with a positive BRAC test and she had 3 daughters ( young adults) that were all tested. I believe 2 of them were also positive, one was not.

I hope I have not confused you even more. I have not had the test but will be asking my doctor if I should have it. I don't have daughters, I have 3 sons ( all adults) and my concern is for their future daughters. My best advice is for your friend and/or you to discuss these things with a doctor that can look at the individual situations. I can give you the name and # of my oncologist ( who I think is the best :) and you could call and ask if you could come in for a consult. That is how I met him, I went in for a consult many years ago. Otherwise I think a gynecologist may be better to discuss this with than a family doctor.
Hope some of this helps~ one of the "rules" I live by in all of this is "there are no right or wrong decisions, you do the best you can with the information you have, trust your feelings, you know your body best and pray about it."

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