I am 42 and the youngest of 6 sisters. I have lost my two oldest sisters to breast cancer and now have a third sister with stage IV breast cancer. When my third sister was diagnosed 3 years ago she had genetic testing done. She was positive for BRCA 1. The other three of us were tested. I am positive as well. My other two sisters are negative. I took the aggressive route and had bilateral prophilactic mastectomy as well as salpingo oopherectomy (sp?). Now that her cancer has spread to her bones and returned to some breast tissue (she also had bilateral mastectomy) I am exremely concerned for my sister. It is unbearable to imagine loosing yet another sister. I hope this does not sound selfish but how concerned should I be that I may have a positive diagnosis of breast cancer after all of the prevention measures I have taken? What is my risk?
The easy answer is that worry isn't going to get you anywhere except maybe an ulcer, but surely that isn't easy. It sure sounds like you have done all that you possible can do with a very aggressive route. I applaud your courage to do that. I am so sorry to hear about your sisters.
I thought my family statistics were bad until I heard yours. In the period of 10 years, my oldest sister, my father and one brother were diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma, I got breast cancer and my youngest brother got colon cancer. The other 2 brothers and 1 sister are certainly nervous as are our children. All we can do is get the regular physical checks and live our lives to the fullest. We nearly lost by brother and sister several times but the new medical advances have helped them far beyond their original diagnosis. I hope the same for your family. God Bless You............Greta
Sorry to hear of your sisters' passing and understand how worried you must be.
I lost my father to colon cancer at age 59, my twin brother to brain cancer at age 50, and I was dx with breast cancer (idc, stage and grade 2, 2 cm tumour) in 2003. All of my father's 7 siblings died of some form of cancer, so I believe there is a genetic link in my immediate family. However, my late mother did not have cancer, died of stroke, and my elder sister, now 68 yrs, has had virtually no serious illnesses, except severe psoriasis.
Having had Crohn's for some 38 yrs myself, my gastro is concerned about my getting colon cancer (Crohn's is from my mouth to anus, with ulcers and crypt abscesses), but I figure I cannot live my life happily, worrying about "what may happen" - I choose to live in the moment and not let cancer define who I am. Having said that, I am very proactive about my grotty health, and have regular colonoscopies/endoscopies for Crohn's, and mammos/ultrasound for bc. I am on permanent weekly self injections of methotrexate (a chemo drug), for the Crohn's and an aromatose inhibitor for the bc, but this is a small price to pay to reasonably good health at 63 yrs old.
Regarding your sister with mets, many bc survivors have lived 15-17 yrs (and counting!) with stage IV mets as there are so many new chemo treatments available now for bc. You might care to look at breastcancercare.org.uk or breastcancer.org USA to see how well many patients with stage IV mets are doing - very inspirational and they offer great support to patients and families/friends.
Having had prophylactic mastectomies I think you have done all you possibly can to prevent bc and now must just be vigilant of any lumps, skin rashes on your chest or axilla areas (armpits).
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