Thursday, 7 November 2013

Cancer Genetic Testing - My First Appointment

Our Mum

Shortly after losing my Mum to Endometrial Cancer in 2006, I visited my Doctor and very nervously asked "Is Endometrial Cancer hereditary?" Her response "Not at all, your Mum was just unlucky". I felt a bit uneasy with her answer as the Internet was telling me a completely different story. However, I put it to the back of my mind, (thinking the doctor must be right) until last May when I spotted Angelina Jolie in the news speaking out about having a double mastectomy after learning that she had a 90% risk of developing breast cancer. 

I felt sad that Angelina had also lost her Mum to cancer (breast) aged 56, the same age my Mum lost her battle with cancer. I could relate to her concerns about hereditary risks and began to look for more information to see if I also had a hereditary predisposition to certain cancers. I discovered that my Mum's cancer did carry a risk of being hereditary, especially as she was so young (only 56). To die from a cancer that usually effects women in an older age bracket was quite rare, so I realised that maybe I should go and speak to my new doctor about it.

I explained my fears to the doctor, and also the fact that I had recently lost my Nan (Mum's Mum) to Ovarian Cancer in 2011. He agreed to refer me to the Great Ormond Street cancer genetic specialists and within a few weeks I had received an appointment for six months time.

Yesterday, I went for that appointment. I expected to walk in, be given a simple blood test and walk out again. However, the procedure wasn't that easy. The appointment lasted 45 minutes with a genetics specialist, who introduced herself as a cancer genetic counsellor. I found her to be really professional, sympathetic and informative. I was asked all about my family tree, the medical history of my Parents, Grandparents, Great Grandparents, Siblings, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. I felt really emotional as we discussed my Mum's diagnosis, her symptoms and how quickly we had lost her. I was told that endometrial, ovarian and bowel cancers are all connected with hereditary risks. I was then medically informed about my options, should it be discovered that I am high risk of genealogical cancers.

The specialist will be requesting my Mum and Nan's medical history over the next few days and if it is confirmed that they had endometrial and ovarian cancer then I will be offered a blood test and if necessary preventative surgery. Of course, I feel anxious about having surgery, but if Mum had, had surgery in her 40's then she may of still been with us today. I feel sad that my Mum was never given a chance.

Having this genetic testing is taking a huge weight off my mind. I feel Thankful, that I am in the position of having a choice, unlike my poor Mum and I will do everything I can to reduce my risk, . I feel lucky that I have a good doctor and should the genetics team come back and tell me that my percentage is high, I will have options that could possibly save my life.


Linking up to Michelle's Reason To Be Cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart




21 comments:

  1. I love your positivity Mama S, and the fact that it's taking a huge weight off your mind. Good luck with the results, and if it turns out you do need surgery, we will all be here to support you! :) xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. As least it's done now em and fingers crossed for the right result xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, that is such a big and brave step - well done for taking it and I I have my fingers crossed that your ultimate outcome is the one which sees you still here when your Grandchildren are grown up :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hope you don't need surgery, but I am glad that if you do you can. You have actually got me thinking now about whether my husband should be screened at some point - his Mum has Lung cancer but they have treated her with biological drugs. It's not like they can do preventative surgery but if they found anything early....thanks for making me think about this x

    ReplyDelete
  5. It helps so much to know that you do have options and can make informed decisions about things, doesn't it? All the best xxx

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow, what a thing to go through. I can understand how knowing is better than not knowing though. You might find out you have to have surgery, but you might also find out you are fine. Thats got to be better than constant worrying. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You have taken a very brave step. Not everyone has choices when it comes to cancer x.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Did they actually take a blood test? I had my first meeting and had to go away before a blood test was taken and really think about the impact of the results. For me finding out that I had a genetic spelling mistake meant that we could take action and for me it was life saving as they find cancer in my breast tissue. If you ever want to discuss this with someone who has been though it (my risks were calculated at 85% lifetime risk of breast cancer and over 60% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer) then just email me. I had an oompherectomy and double mastectomy.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good on you for going back, too many people brush it away. My mum had breast cancer past the age of 60, so I was told it was unusual for it to be passed on. Good luck x

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can't imagine how hard that appointment was but well done you for being so brave and doing it, I can imagine many people would rather live in ignorance that face it head on. We'll be hoping and praying for a good result for you xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  11. we are lucky to have such medical advances, hope goes well x

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is a very brave, and I think right, step to have taken. Knowledge is power and yes if preventative surgery improves your chances then it seems like the best decision.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You are being so brave, facing this threat and taking it on, wishing you all the very best xxx

    ReplyDelete
  14. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers Mama. Much love, Gx

    ReplyDelete
  15. Firstly, what a stunningly beautiful woman your mum was and so sorry you lost her in this way.
    Well done for your assertiveness and hope all goes well. Brave and special woman

    ReplyDelete
  16. You are very positive and you did the right thing by going to this appointment. Fingers crossed for you. Sending you hugs too, because you can never get enough of those when losing someone you love. xx

    ReplyDelete
  17. I hope it goes well, you are very positive during what must be a very worrying time. *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ohh pleased your doctor took things seriously and referred you on. Wishing you all the best. Mich x

    ReplyDelete
  19. So glad that it was a different doctor who referred you to a specialist, and had the foresight to do so. GPs ie the first doctor you saw often aren't that well informed. Well done for going in and having the test done, either way you will know for sure, and will be able to take positive action. Thank goodness these tests are available now. X

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...