by Krystin Tate
I sat in a gray, windowless space, a room typically used to observe children with disabilities. It doubled as the setting of something life changing – receiving test results I wasn’t sure I wanted. But it was too late to run as the genetic counselor handed me a purple folder, a medical Pandora’s box. “The results are positive,” she said, confirming my worst fears.
What she didn’t say, but I knew with a sinking feeling, was that the positive results indicated that my risk of breast cancer was as high as 87%. Barely less than a sure thing.
Think about it this way: if you were boarding a plane with an 87% chance of crashing, would you pray for that 13% chance of safety or high-tail it out of there? It sounds easy, right? But what if it wasn’t a plane crash you feared? That’s what I had to ask myself when I tested for the BRCA2 mutation. Everyone carries the BRCA gene, which works as a tumor suppressor, but when it is mutated it greatly increases the risk for breast and ovarian cancer.