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New Breast Cancer Gene Study | Update - Wendy Will Blog
The blog moved! Click to join us at Wendy-Nielsen.com

New Breast Cancer Gene Study | Update

June 21, 2012

Late last month I wrote about a new breast cancer gene study I was planning to participate in.  A few days ago, I finally received the blood collection kit in the mail.  All that’s left of me is to have my blood drawn, Fed-Ex it back to the University of Washington, and then wait…anywhere from six to twelve months for the results.

What kind of results, you’re wondering — or not, but I’ll tell you anyway.


The King Lab at the University of Washington has been working on this study for a long time.  They’ve recently expanded the study to include women who were diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 or younger (me, me, me!) and also women diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer (not me!).  The researchers believe that women diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age are likely carriers of the “breast cancer gene” — also known as BRCA 1 and BRCA 2.

Yeah, but…my results were negative when I originally was tested for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 back in 2008.

Apparently, genomics technology has come a long way since 2008.  So, they will re-test me again for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 plus ANOTHER 20 genes they believe may or may not play a role in inherited breast cancer.

So, it’s quite possible that my BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 results come back this time and reveal that I am a carrier.  Or they can find an abnormality in one of the other 20 genes.

Part of me wants to be a carrier of  the “breast cancer gene” or some type of altered gene — because this will shed light on why the hell I developed this disease.  But the other part of me absolutely does not want to be a carrier for the sake of my little sister and my own daughter and the future of their health.  As always, there is no easy answer with breast cancer.

I’ll update you again in the next six to twelve months!


In other crappy cancer news…

Dr. Susan Love recently announced that she has been diagnosed with Leukemia and will take a leave of absence to undergo treatment.  This.Totally.Sucks.


And finally…today is the day for my quarterly check-up with my oncologist.  If you’re curious what an appointment like that entails, check out “Tis the Life of a Former Cancer Patient” which I wrote in February.  Fingers crossed that all goes well.

Have you understood a word of this post?  Got a breast cancer question?  I’ll answer the best way I know how! 

The blog moved! Click to join us at Wendy-Nielsen.com

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara @ Periwinkle Papillon June 21, 2012 at 8:38 am

Thank you for being a warrior. You are a real hero. xoxo
Sending Dr. Love nothing but positive thoughts and energy. Ugh.


wendy June 24, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Thank you for your continued love and support!!


OCMomActivities - Katie June 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm

My heart goes out to you as you await the results. I lost my mom to Lung Cancer (damn cigarrettes) over a decade ago. She was young (under 60) and had stopped smoking for the 6 years prior to being diagnosed.

Cancer just plain sucks any way you look at it, but it sounds like you are taking the head on approach and are a major success story!


wendy June 24, 2012 at 9:07 pm

I’m really sorry to hear about your mom. Yes, cancer does just plain suck. I wish I could say I was a success story! The best line I ever heard was “when I die from something other than cancer, then I will consider myself a success story!”


Steph June 21, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Thinking good thoughts of all kinds for you Wendy. You really are an inspiration!


Wendy June 24, 2012 at 9:15 pm



Kimberly June 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm

The developments in breast cancer research are so astounding. I didn’t really realize how far we have come in cancer research until I read Nancy Brinkler’s book “Promsie Me” last year.I was so inspired that I decided to particpate in the SGK 3-Day Walk in San Diego. I enjoyed raising money for such an incredible cause and will always remember the 3-Day journey and all the stories I heard of strength and survival.I know that sometimes igonorance is bliss, but I give you so much credit for trying to learn if you are a carrier for the “breast cancer genes” so that you can best protect your family.


wendy June 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm

There are indeed advances however there is still no cure and no understanding on why people develop the disease. It’s heartbreaking. Thanks for support and commenting!


Mary June 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Thanks for your up-date and good luck with your blood work. I did all the blood tests too about a year and a half ago. I was so worried as my mom got BC at age 34 and I have three daughters! I was lucky and tested negative. Thank God we have come so far with the advances in medications and screenings to have a much better chance of survival. Good for you Kimberly for participating in the 3day. I have done the 24 hour relay for the past 3 years and find it very rewarding!
I will keep Dr Love in my prayers along with Robin Roberts. My son died of that damn leukemia when he was just 21. THAT totally SUCKS and I do use the present tense cause nothing ever makes that better!
Be sure and let’s us know how your tests come out. Always better to know even tho it’s very scary to go through:). Love to you- Mary


wendy June 24, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Oh Mary, I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your son to leukemia! I can’t imagine anything worst than losing a child. Thank you always for your support! xo


Caryn B June 22, 2012 at 11:51 am

I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. I sincerely hope you get answers quickly. You are incredibly brave for sharing this but I absolutely believe that other women can benefit…..I’m definitely keeping up with your updates….


wendy June 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm

That’s definitely my mission – to help other women learn about the disease and that it doesn’t just affect families with a history of cancer or women over 40. It happens to young, healthy women, with no family history and it sucks. Thanks so much for commenting!


Natalie June 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I think it’s amazing that they are able to decipher that kind of thing through a blood test in the mail. Amazing. I’m so glad you’re doing the study- I hope you get solid answers with information that you can move forward with. Hugs!


wendy June 24, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Yes, I’m excited to participant! I just wish they could decipher cancer in the blood. Thanks for the hugs and let’s plan a get together when you get back to town!!


Shelby Barone June 25, 2012 at 1:12 am

You are such an inspiration to women around the world. Hoping that the results give you the answer you are looking for. xoxo


erica June 25, 2012 at 6:50 am

I feel the need to plug my own place’s research for BRCA: https://www.penncancer.org/basser/

Research and science is amazing. It’s something I feel really strongly about. Good for you!


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