Like so many others, my story begins with those who came before me. My mom was an Omaha Police Officer, a marathon runner, she was the picture of perfect health. Until she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35. Late in her battle we learned her cancer was caused by a BRCA1 mutation. This mutation meant each of us kids had a 50/50 chance of also carrying the mutation.
On my 19th birthday, I was tested for the gene mutation and I too carry the gene. The difference? I know before cancer. At the age of 22 I had a preventive bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. My breast cancer risk went from 87% to less than 2%, and I no longer fear losing my life to breast cancer.
Unfortunately it took a breast cancer diagnosis for Angie Welsh to learn about her high risk of developing cancer. A small tumor, the size of a speck of pepper was detected on a mammogram. Even after a bilateral mastectomy, Angie was treated as a stage 3b with aggressive chemotherapy and eight surgeries.
Glorie Meador was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, just weeks after her father was diagnosed with the same disease. Glorie fought a brave and courageous fight, and passed away May 30th, 2011.
Five years later, her daughter Audra underwent cancer genetic testing and was found to carry a BRCA2 mutation, making her high risk for developing breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers and melanoma. Audra’s story is different than that of her mother, she knows her risk before cancer. Audra has options for early detection and prevention, an opportunity we all wish Glorie would have had.
Share your story of hereditary cancer.
Click here to change this text