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!