Nicole Armstrong knew she was at risk...
...because her grandmother died so young. “So I always thought, ‘OK, I have an increased risk. Instead of going for mammograms at 50, I have to go around 40,” Nicole is 28.
Then her 30-year-old sister Catrina walked into the kitchen in 2009 saying she had a painful lump under her arm. Catrina was developmentally disabled and couldn’t explain clearly. “So my dad felt under her arm and he looks at me and doesn't say anything just mouths to me, ‘There's a lump,’” Nicole said. It was Stage 4 breast cancer. Catrina died two years later. Testing showed she had a BRCA mutation. It turns out Catrina and Nicole’s father, Douglas Armstrong, inherited the mutation from his mother and passed it to his daughters. Read more byclicking here.
Angelina Jolie... reveals she had double breast removal surgery after learning she had a mutated BRAC1 gene know to significantly raise a woman's risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
Saying goodbye: A "Love" Letter to My Ovaries
Denise says "It is not fun being a woman at times. It is worse when I had to deal with pain caused by my ovaries. During majority of my life, I have had to fight a battle with endometriosis - an autoimmune disorder which causes a development of uterine-lining tissue outside the uterus."
Read her letter to her ovaries by clicking here.
Imagine you’re a 41-year-old woman, in excellent health...
...and a doctor informs you that you almost certainly will develop breast cancer during your lifetime — the very disease that killed your mother at age 42.
What goes through your mind? What do you do next?
The cancer could show up soon, or perhaps not for many years. Do you wait for that to happen, or do you do whatever you can to prevent it, even if the only sure protection is having both breasts and your ovaries surgically removed?
These were the questions Rumson resident Stacy Connone had to wrestle with two years ago after a simple saliva test showed she was highly susceptible to a hereditary form of breast cancer.
In medical parlance, she was a “bracca carrier.” It meant that one of the BRCA genes that normally functions to suppress cancerous tumors had a mutation that disabled that critical line of defense.
In other words, Connone thought, “I’m a sitting duck.”
Connone was 15 when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 39. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments failed to stop the cancer from spreading.
The three years that followed were a traumatizing ordeal for her family, Connone says.
“It’s a lot to watch a human being deteriorate like that ... watching the loss of hair, the amount of surgeries, the burns on the body from radiation, the vomiting, and the sickness, the bloating, the feeding tubes,” she recalls.
“It is a lot to endure.”