It broke my heart finding out my beautiful daughter was a carrier. At the same time, my BRCA status ultimately allowed her to choose to save her own life.
I am eternally grateful that, at only 26, she had a risk-reducing double mastectomy and will take part in the Protector trial for the ovarian side.
There is a 50/50 chance of inheriting it, and once you know your BRCA status, you can protect not only your own life, but also your daughter’s, sister’s, mother’s, aunt’s, niece’s, uncle’s, brother’s and nephew’s. BRCA cannot jump a generation and cancer does not discriminate or care.
We can stop this devastating deathly inheritance by making sure it is not passed onto any future children through PGD, a form of IVF, which in simple terms means no embryos carrying the mutation will be used. Both male and female carriers are entitled to this procedure under NHS guidelines.
Mathew Knowles, the father of singer Beyoncé, who has been diagnosed with a BRCA2 breast cancer is encouraging BRCA testing: “Talk about it… Speak out. Sooner, faster, quicker about it. That’s what strength is. Weakness is when you want to keep it secret.”
With BRCA being so prevalent within the community, we need to think of it as a blessing and not a curse. Had I known I was a carrier, I would’ve known what ovarian cancer symptoms to look out for. Remember BEAT: bloating, difficulty eating, abdominal pains and changes in toilet habits.
We must use modern scientific knowledge to help change the destiny of the Jewish community. Too many women will die because they did not know they were carriers. Knowing your BRCA status gives you the opportunity and the choice to take necessary steps to protect yourself and your family.