Thursday, September 4

Stand Up to Cancer



Of women who develop breast cancer, most do not have a family history of the disease. In fact, only 5 to 10 percent of cases of breast cancer are considered to be hereditary.

Sometimes there is a genetic link. Specifically, some people carry a "faulty" BRCA1, BRCA2, and/or TP53 gene. People who carry one or more of the "faulty" genes are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Your father is just as likely to pass the "faulty" gene on to you as your mother. Breast cancer is not a "female" problem.

Having a "faulty" gene is not a death sentence. It simply means you are at an increased risk.

Not having a "faulty" gene does not mean you will never develop breast cancer. Genes can mutate and become cancerous.

My mother died of breast cancer nearly thirteen years ago. She was 45.

Because of that fact, my risk factor for developing breast cancer sometime in my lifetime is slightly higher than the national average. In fact, my physician says it's 5% higher. If you think about that, it means that even if no one in your family has ever had breast cancer, you are still only slightly less likely to develop the disease than I am. So, are you slightly less vigilant? Or much less vigilant?

We're standing up to cancer by educating ourselves, doing things to lower our risk, and by going to the doctor for regular screenings.

Are you standing up to cancer?

36 comments:

  1. As my Dad would say, Atta Girl for speading the info. (That's his highest compliment.)

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  2. Great reminder. Thanks.

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  3. Great reminder, and I'm so sorry about your mom. My gosh, she was younger than me!

    I lost my father to lung cancer, my uncle to melanoma, an aunt to stomach cancer, other uncles to lung cancer; it's a terrible disease that doesn't discriminate.

    I have my annual physical and visit with my gynecologist. I do my BSE's and have my annual mammogram. When I found a lump earlier this year (turned out to be nothing more than a dense fibrous area) I got straight to the doctor. We have to be responsible for our own health and be ready to do battle with whatever we find.

    Stand up to cancer, indeed! I keep hoping they'll wipe out this cluster of diseases in my lifetime.

    Peace - D

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  4. Being informed and proactive is the best thing you can do.

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  5. Great post. I'm sorry to hear about your mother.

    I wrote a long (probably deathly boring to a non-biologist) research paper on BRCA1 a few years ago about the fact that certain ethnicities have a higher rate of breast cancer, and the connection between that and BRCA1. It was fascinating, but mostly for the reasons that you pointed out: the fact that it is rarely hereditary, and it only increases your risk factor slightly if a close relative had it. (Also the fact that many of the risk factors are lifestyle choices, or non-choices in the case of people who live in horribly unhealthy environments and can't afford health care.)

    Bravo to you, Burgh Baby.

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  6. I lost both of my parents to cancer, my mother had cervical cancer and my father had stomach cancer. My MIL had a double mastectomy 5 years ago due to breast cancer. I hate that word "cancer"!

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  7. I am sorry to hear about your mom.I am sure she is proud of you for al your efforts to fight this terrible disease.

    I just love that pic.

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  8. Teresa9:50 AM

    Great Post!!! I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. That is very sad. My Grandmother is a lucky Breast Cancer Survivor. Hopefully we can do something to stop Cancer, or at least make it more curable.

    KUDOS!!

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  9. I just got all weepy.

    Thank you for posting, for sharing. More need to know, don't you think?

    Will link when I get to writing my post today.

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  10. i need to be more proactive. i keep fooling myself into thinking that there hasn't been any breast cancer in my family but...as you know...there is always a first.
    i need to start taking better care of myself...and helping my children take better care of themselves and to be more aware.
    thank you for this post!!

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  11. By the way, there is a blog award for you over at my place. Stop by if you have time...Peace - D

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  12. What a great way to honor your mother. :)

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  13. Cancer has been a way of life in my family, unfortunately. But we don't take it lying down. We fight! We win! And we'll continue to do that if it comes calling our way again. Thanks for this post. I am so sorry to hear about your mother. But you are brave and fantastic for spreading the word.

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  14. I know that all kinds of cancer are horrible. And worth trying to prevent / be educated about.

    My biggest one is skin cancer. I've already had one cancerous melanoma removed. I'm "okay" now, but you never know. So now I'm on a warpath trying to get people to wear sunscreen. My hubby thinks I'm going overboard with using sunscreen on our daughter. But she's got increased risk from me AND from his side [... He tends to forget that his grandmother had a melanoma to]

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  15. I lost one of my best friends to breast cancer over the summer. She was diagnosed in March, feeling healthy and normal - she died in June. 38 years old. I still can't bring myself to erase her cell number or her email address.

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  16. I'm sorry to hear about your mom, she was so young. Peace and courage to you.

    We're fighting cancer right now.

    Thank you for this post. :)

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  17. I'm so sorry your to hear mom died so early. Breast Cancer is my worst fear.

    Yesterday was my dear friend's 31st birthday. Her mother died when she was 32 from Breast Cancer. The topic held a lot of our conversation at lunch.

    I agree, educating ourselves is the most powerful thing we can do.
    Great post!

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  18. Cancer runs rampant in my family. Breast cancer too. My grandma and aunt had breast cancer. My MIL has breast cancer right now (she just came over to our house to have us shave her head). My mom has a different form of cancer she is fighting right now too.

    I am so flipping SICK of CANCER!!!! WHERE IS A FREAKING CURE!!!!!!

    Great post!

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  19. Sorry to hear about your mom.

    I will be forty *cough, cough, choke* in a few weeks, so thanks for the reminder to get my mammogram scheduled at the same time.

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  20. Hell YES!!!

    I'm sorry for the loss of your mom, M.

    Big Hugs and love!

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  21. I'm sorry for your loss. It's never something you can "get over". You just cope. And then you make others aware. Good for you. Please keep it up. Even if you're faithful in doing all you can, (BSE, mammos, etc.) it never hurts to be reminded. Thanks.

    Also, I tagged you at my place. Although I think you're not the slightest bit "unspectacular", I felt I had to come up with someone who might be willing to participate.

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  22. And you just reminded me about my well woman visit that is coming up and I need to go look at the calendar and see when it is.
    Thanks!

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  23. I certainly couldn't have said it any better. Well, done BBM

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  24. Well said . . .

    I'm so sorry about your mom.

    And yes, I'm standing up . . . no doubt about it.

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  25. I didn't know that about your mom. I'm so sorry. :(

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  26. Standing with you my friend.

    The un-timely loss of your mother is even more reason to do so...

    Beautiful picutre!

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  27. I'm so sorry you lost your mom to breast cancer.

    ~ Judy of Just Enjoy Him

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  28. Sorry about your mom. Were you close?

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  29. Standing up sista'

    So sorry to hear about your Mom. It's just not fair. Period.

    But yes. Let's fund research. Let's make awareness and pre-screening a must. And let's help the ones who are already sick.

    Let's vote Obama (had to squeeze that in). And let's take care of our boobies, and our babies.

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  30. I'm sorry to hear that about your mom. It is hard to lose a loved one, especially a mom.

    I work at the cancer institute and know that there is not a family out there who is not touched in some way by cancer. Including my own family.

    Thank goodness we in American have the freedoms we do and that government doesn't control the health care like in some other countries. I have heard such horror stories from friends I've made with residents and research fellows from those countries whose government controls the health care system. They have come here live to make a difference and hopefully find cures for all that plagues people today. One day they will win the war with cancer!

    Great picture of you two. That's a keeper for sure.

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  31. Thank you for the reminder. We all need to be vigilant about it!

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  32. I am standing right beside you. It is terrifying the amount of women who have never had a family history that HAVE gotten it.
    So sorry that you lost your mom.

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  33. why yes I am. Going to be checked out today.

    Love that picture!

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  34. You've put it so well. So many people think it just is hereditary and don't worry or think about it like they should.

    Thanks for pointing out that we all should be aware and so regular checks.

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  35. Oh that was way too young to be taken. I'm so sorry. We all need to be more vigilant!

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