"Cancer previvors" are individuals who are survivors of a predisposition to cancer but who haven’t had the disease. This group includes people who carry a hereditary mutation, a family history of cancer, or some other predisposing factor. The cancer previvor term evolved from a challenge on the FORCE main message board by Jordan, a website regular, who posted, "I need a label!" As a result, the term cancer previvor was chosen to identify those living with risk. The term specifically applies to the portion of our community which has its own unique needs and concerns separate from the general population, but different from those already diagnosed with cancer.
The medical community uses the term "unaffected carrier" to describe those who have not had cancer but have a BRCA or other cancer-predisposing mutation. The term applies from a medical perspective, but doesn't capture the experience of those who face an increased risk for cancer and the need to make medical management decisions. Although cancer previvors face some of the same fears as cancer survivors, undergoing similar tests and confronting similar medical management issues, they face a unique set of emotional, medical, and privacy concerns.
As new research continues, the ability of medical experts to predict and manage breast and ovarian cancer risk will improve. Therefore it is important for cancer previvors to consult with a specialist in cancer genetics when determining risk for breast cancer and making risk-management decisions.
Confronting your personal cancer risk can be confusing and frustrating. If you are a cancer previvor trying to choose the best risk-management option, you need as much information about your personal risk as possible. Sometimes it helps to speak with other women who have faced these choices. Learn more about talking with other high-risk women in our previvor’s support section.
If you are a previvor in the process of determining your cancer risk or risk management options, there is a good chance that you can find others in your situation within our FORCE community section.
FORCE invites the community to support our Cancer Previvor Campaign.
- Use this term to describe the at-risk population.
- Tell your cancer previvor friends and relatives about FORCE.
- Tell your medical team about FORCE .
- Refer the media to FORCE to improve coverage of our campaign and raise awareness of the unique needs of the previvor community.
Disclaimer: Health links are made available for educational purposes only. This information should not be interpreted as medical advice. All health information should be discussed with your health care provider. Please read our full disclaimer for more information.
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