Personal Story: Jackie

At a glance

The story of Jackie, a 38-year-old woman with a family history of breast cancer.


Jackie's story

A portrait of Jackie
"I had an amazing genetic counselor. We had a lot of discussions about what I want." —Jackie.

Motivated by my daughter and my family history of cancer, I pursued genetic counseling and testing. I learned I had a BRCA1 gene mutation, which led me to take steps to protect my health.

Discussing my risk with my daughter

I have talked to my young daughter, Amelia, about the surgery I had to remove my ovaries to keep them from making me sick.

I have also talked to Amelia about why I no longer get my period. I know this conversation will evolve as Amelia grows up.

I don't want Amelia to worry about her own cancer risk as a teenager or young adult. I want Amelia to wait until she is more prepared to make health decisions before getting genetic testing.

Making risk management decisions that work for me

While I have no regrets about my decision to remove my ovaries, I struggled with the side effects of early menopause and hot flashes.

I will consider preventive surgery to remove my breasts when my daughter is older, knowing the surgery comes with a lengthy recovery. For now, I get regular breast cancer screenings.

Discussing my options to manage my risk with my genetic counselor and health care providers has helped me make decisions that work for me.

Jackie: Taking Action for My Daughter

Jackie shares how understanding her risk enabled her to take action to reduce her risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Family history on my dad’s side

Several aunts and a grandmother on my dad’s side have had breast or ovarian cancer. Yet, I was told more than once that I didn’t need to worry because my cancer history wasn’t on my mom’s side. But I knew my dad’s side could increase my breast cancer risk. I advocated for myself, found health care providers I trusted, and got the genetic counseling and testing I needed.

Jackie’s videos

Jackie: Testing for a BRCA Gene Mutation‎

Jackie saw many relatives on her father's side of the family get diagnosed with and die from breast or ovarian cancer. Because of her family history, her doctor recommended she receive genetic counseling. Jackie explains her experience with genetic counseling and testing.

Jackie's Bring Your Brave Ad‎

Jackie took steps to learn about her risk for breast and ovarian cancer because of her family history.