Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Genetic Testing

May 26, 2009....

Today I went to the OBGYN for a checkup. My OB is not your typical OBGYN, but a speciality one - oncology.

Although, my initial reason for going to her was not the happiest, I have really grown to respect and admire her throughout the years.

It's been about 5 years since diagnosed and today she suggested I meet with a genetic counselor. Apparently, there is a strong correlation between women under 50 with endometrial cancer and colon cancer.

Initially, the conversation went from her 'suggesting' I go, to 'strongly recommending' I meet with her because of my family history with breast cancer (2 out of 3 sisters).

I guess I can see the sound rationale behind this for the endometrial/colon connection because colonoscopies are not performed annually like a mammogram. However, breast genetic testing I'm not that sure about.

As I said to my doctor, do I want to know if I'm going to die of breast cancer in 10 years? I could be hit by a car tomorrow and the unnecessary worrying will be for nothing.

Today, mammograms are performed on routine basis and with preventive care, can be detected early. However, would you still have a mastectomy 10 years in advance to avoid the possibility of cancer?

In the ten years, couldn't a change in diet, exercise and/or environment alter the results of the test and the mastectomy would have been performed unnecessarily?

Other questions pop in to my head, such as:

Would you worry all the time about the fear of having cancer?

Would you take more risks knowing your time is limited?

Would you be an optimist or pessimist with this news?

Would you eliminate the unnecessary drama from your life; or
just create more by knowing?

I'm not sure what I'm going to do, but I do plan on calling her.


Al said...

speak to her and make a decision from there... you dont want to wait 10 years then think back and wish you had done something about it!

I hope everything works out :)

Anonymous said...

to be honest i would rather know. that way i can take preventative measures and it will be hanging over your head for the next 10 years you will always wonder if its growing, spreading etc etc

its scary but necessary i think.but its also your decision, so do what feels right for you

maria.palermo said...

Having a sister who's a breast cancer survivor, the same recommendation was issued to me. Honestly, I DON'T want to know, since I am an extreme worry wort. Just ask your sister, I drive her crazy with my needless worry. I get so anxious every time I go to any doctor let alone my OB-GYN. I agree with AI, just go and speak to her and take it from there. all the best on this.

Lora said...

ugh. go, get all the information you can, and then sit down and really really think and make an informed decision.

me? i would want to know. i would do the masectomy. i would buy myself a great set of tits to try to make up for the fact that i had to cut mine off.

i'll be thinking about you.

Tasha said...

I would want to know... the more information available, the better in my opinion. If you decide to do the testing, you can manage your health better. Being aware of risk factors for disease is so important. You have to do what is right for you, but knowledge is power.

marathoner81 said...

glad you're planning on going. I think it's better to know, but that's just me.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Al - Agree. I plan on calling. Not sure of rest.
Miss_Rambles: I hate scary & that's my problem.
maria.palermo: I'll probably skip the breast testing, if anything, I'll just do the endometrial/colon/ovary screening stuff. Sister already told dr. I was going to call her so on today's to-do list.
Lora: You're right. Having info doesn't mean I have to do anything but make informed decision. Not sure what I'm going to do. Thanks.
Tasha: Hmmm....not sure if I'd change anything, that's what I'm struggling with.
Marathoner81: I'm going, but jury is out if knowing is good idea.