Archive for December, 2009

In 2005, I was overseas and got word from my mother that my aunt’s breast cancer had metastasized after being in remission for several years. My aunt made it clear that she didn’t want to talk about it and she didn’t want people to treat her differently. She wanted dignity, not pity. Although I felt […]

If you are in the U.S., the only place where you can legally get genetic testing for BRCA mutations is Myriad Genetics. Myriad owns the patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The current list cost of the comprehensive test is $3120 USD. (No idea if that includes taxes and other fees.) While some insurance […]

I just called the cancer agency today to follow up on my BRCA testing referral. Here in Canada, I need a doctor’s referral to the cancer agency for genetic counselling and testing. I just moved to Canada four months ago. So first I had to find a doctor, which everyone will tell you is very […]

Found an article from last year’s U.S. News and World Report called BRCA Mutations Don’t Raise Breast Cancer Risk Equally. This was the topic of my post on Risk Diversity. Happy to see there is some mainstream news on it, but as the researcher quoted in the article notes: “To some extent, people have traditionally […]

The researcher who led the discovery of BRCA2, Mike Stratton, has announced the first full genetic analysis of lung cancer and melanoma. The graphic above is visual summary of this work. It shows all of the mutations in the genome of small-call lung cancer (above) and malignant melanoma (below). The researchers who worked on this […]

Risk Diversity


I have referred to different risks for the different positions of BRCA2 mutations, but I haven’t explained where I got this idea. It’s comes from a 2004 study done by Polish, Canadian, and American researchers. The study looked at cancer cases in 440 families with BRCA2 mutations. It finds further evidence of the Ovarian Cancer […]

Nearly every discussion on how to manage the risk for BRCA mutation carriers goes back to the preventive surgeries: mastectomy and oophorectomy. But while these surgeries are very effective for reducing risk, they are not without their own risks. Mastectomy can affect sexuality and body image. To me, these risks seem manageable. I feel they […]

Follow up to my previous post: I found a very nice response to inane comments directed at Lizzie Stark after coming publicly about her mastectomy. The writer of that response, Steph, also wrote another more general response to handling negative reactions from people about prophylactic mastectomy. Actually the link I posted earlier was a later […]

Silver bullets


When first faced with my family history of breast cancer, I started coming up with all sorts of rationales of why breast cancer wouldn’t affect me. I tried to figure out what my mother, aunt, and grandmother all had in common that I don’t have. I figured out they all drank alcohol regularly. Of course, […]

In my post about reconstruction, I didn’t get into the so-called controversy of prophylactic breast mastectomy (PBM). Well, after running across enough of comments from people who question a women’s decision to do PBM, I gotta vent some. Here’s a common case: A woman decides to go public with her PBM to raise awareness of […]