The Dreaded Gene

mental health

Angelina Jolie has spoken out about the preventative surgery she had recently after discovering she carries the BRCA1 gene. She has been praised for giving hope to other women in her situation, and has herself said she feels empowered by the decision and not at all unfeminine.

When I was 11, I lost my beloved grandmother to cancer after she fought it for over two decades. She had a mastectomy on one side and ten years later had another. A few years after this the disease came back in her womb, and she passed away in hospital the day before she was due to have a hysterectomy. My memories are blurred, but I think she was 56 or 57. At 14, my aunt who was just 44 died of breast cancer within a year of being diagnosed. I have two friends (aged just 38 and 41) who are in remission as we speak.

Apparently breast cancer is heredity, and the younger the family member was when diagnosed the higher the likelihood of you carrying the gene mutation. This does not bode well for me, and I have lived with this knowledge in the back of my head for years. It’s like cleaning the top of your kitchen cupboards – you know the chore needs to be tackled at some point but you put it off and put it off until the dust and grime is so gross you can’t bare it any longer.

The question is do I get myself tested or not, and what would I do with the information if it came back positive? If the answer is nothing, then it’s pointless having the tests done in the first place. Surely I have to be prepared for the worst case scenario, and follow it through the way Angelina has done. I would need to be certain I was finished having babies in that case, and I don’t know wholeheartedly if I am yet. Hopefully this is not a decision I will have to make any time soon, but right now instead of being at the back of my mind it’s in pole position right up front.

The problem with opening up cans, is that worms go flying everywhere.

3 thoughts on “The Dreaded Gene

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