Every year since I was 30, I had my yearly mammogram. I would wonder each year if that year was going to be the one that I was told I had cancer. I followed this stressful routine because I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was eight years old. In 2009, my cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer, being the fifth female on my mother's side who had been diagnosed. She decided to get genetic testing and found that she had the BRCA1 inherited mutation. She provided our family with her results and encouraged us to get tested as well. I first resisted, but ultimately decided to meet with a genetic counselor. When my test came back positive, I was given information about FORCE and encouraged to visit the website. As I dug into exorbitant amounts of information on the FORCE website I remembered a conversation that I had had with my physician assistant a few years earlier. I explained to her that my grandmother, my mother and two cousins on the same side of the family had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She asked if my cousins were related through their mothers or fathers. Their fathers were my mom's brothers. Based on this information she told me it was just a coincidence and dismissed my history. Obviously, the information she gave me was incorrect. I felt that I needed to help ensure that others would not receive bad information as well. Volunteering with FORCE has given me the opportunity to help provide accurate information and support to the hereditary cancer community.
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