While I am at risk for both breast and ovarian cancer, I’ve decided to tackle reducing my risk of breast cancer first. Emotionally, this is the easier of the two surgeries. The scarier piece is that ovarian cancer is much more difficult to detect – by the time I would feel anything, the cancer would have already grown. On the other hand, most women are accustomed to checking their breasts for lumps, etc., and can oftentimes catch developing tumors or abnormalities early. Yet, for many women, the breast surgery is the easier, emotionally, of the two.
I certainly do need to explore having an oopherectomy. The risk for the general population for ovarian cancer is 1.8%. Yes, one-point-eight percent. For me, I have between a 45%-65% chance of developing ovarian cancer. Those odds, my friends, stink.
For breast cancer, my risk is around 60-85% for developing breast cancer. What freaks me out a bit more is my sister’s early age of onset. While that doesn’t predict my onset (if, indeed, I am in the 60-85% of BRCA developing group), it takes quite an emotional toll. So, I’ve decided to go ahead with the surgery. In addition, I’ve seen both of my sisters and my cousin go through their surgeries and know that I have a wonderful support system for it.
Surgery reduces my risk of breast cancer because all of my breast tissue is removed. I am opting for the most radical removal (ie no sparing of any tissue) which keeps my risks low. Of course, I am also anxious about the risks of general surgery – anesthesia, post-surgery complications, etc. But, those are out of my control. I am hoping to take control of all that I can by losing weight, getting in shape, and mentally preparing for my journey ahead.