Female cancer prevention


I will be going back to my genetic counsellor next week (my birth mom died of breast cancer at 24 after having it twice at 21 and then agian at 23)

They cant do any blood tests because there arent any living relatives who have had the disease and they cant offer me mammograms because I am to young. They have suggested mastectomy.

I am 21 but I will go ahead for preventative reasons if it will prevent me getting cancer - have any women on here had this surgery or considered it for similar reasons - not asking for medical advise just wondering what affect it had on you if you had it or why you didnt get it if you had the option?


Here in the US, if your mother had breast cancer, you begin getting mammograms when you are younger than your mom was at her diagnosis.

Perhaps you could come to the US for a mammogram?

I am waiting for genetic testing as well to see if I have to go through the same process. I try not to dwell on it. I do know its an option, and would have a masectomy if my doctors recommended it. I go to experts for a reason and have doctors that I trust.

I also know three sisters who carried the gene. Two got breast cancer, the eldest first and she is a survivor. The middle sister got a very aggressive form of Breast cancer and died after 5 years of struggle. The third sister chose to have a masectomy. A small price to pay for a long, and happy life.

I’ll say a prayer for you tonight. Its not an easy decision.

I’m so sorry to hear you have to deal with this. I am confused, however; I thought there was a specific test they could do to see if you carry the gene that predisposes you to a “familial” tendency towards breast cancer. I think the genes are BrCa1 and BrCa2. Here is a link with great info (they apparently now use tamoxifen as “chemoprevention” for women at risk from breast cancer due to these genetic mutations.) imaginis.com/breasthealth/genetic_risks2.asp#Preventing

I hope you can get the testing you clearly need.

I do also know of one woman who had the “prophylactic mastectomy”; it really set her mind at ease. She had reconstruction and is pleased. I’ll say a prayer for you.

Apparently to test for the BR2 and BR2 genes you need to have a living survivor or sufferer? My mom died young, her sister died young and her nan (and I think although I am not sure as I am adopted that my nan died although she would have been in her 50’s) all through breast cancer.

I would have the surgery if it was the best option.

Apparently in the UK no-one under 30 gets a mammogram because it contains radiation?? Im not to sure but i have been told it is not an option.

Part of me is concerned about the re-constructive part from a purely vain perspective I am large chested (approx 36E/F) and it does suit my frame so at 21/22 I would not want to be without breasts!

Its a hard one!

From my understanding, it is easier for genetic testing if you have the results from a relative. If you do not have the results, you may still do genetic testing, but it is a lot more expensive, because they must start from scratch, so to speak. With a relatives results, who has had cancer, they know what they are looking for.

Since you do not have the results from any relative, they also can’t say if the BR1 or BR2 genes were the reason for the breast cancer. But don’t take my word for it. I’m NOT a dr and I know very little, really.

I am very interested in the research that has to do with the HER gene. One oncologist my family member is seeing says that cancer cells lay dormant in a vast majority of people, but only manifest in some. She said either a gene will cause it to grow or time may be a factor. Since we are living so much longer, I found this interesting.

My relative is taking tamoxifen now. They say its a wonder drug. I worry about the side effects and what it can do for an unborn child. Knowing me, I’ll get pg again. I’d rather be able to get pg and not breast feed than risk the health of my child.

In the end I don’t know what I’ll do. My relative said they’d be doing genetic testing, but now that they’re done with chemo and radiation, they don’t feel the urgent need to know any more:shrug: I’m hoping they will ask their dr soon. Once I get those results, I can have my testing done, if I need to. My dr likes mamograms done after being finished with breastfeeding for 6 mo, and while not pregnant. My baby is only 2 mo, and I want to bf for at least 12 mo. I will have to avoid pregnancy after I’m done breastfeeding to squeeze in a mamogram.

I always wonder about re-constructive surgery…how do they look when your 80?? lol

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.