Jackie: Taking Action for My Daughter
Jackie, age 38, has a paternal family history of breast and ovarian cancer and a BRCA gene mutation. She shares how understanding her risk enabled her to take action to reduce her risk for breast and ovarian cancer, and create a roadmap for a bright future for her and her 4-year-old daughter.
Throughout her life, Jackie, 38, saw many relatives on her father’s side of the family be diagnosed with and die from breast or ovarian cancer. Her paternal grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 30s, and later passed away from ovarian cancer in her 40s, while two paternal aunts also died from breast or ovarian cancer.
Jackie discussed her family history with her doctor, who recommended she seek genetic counseling.A specially trained health care professional looks at a person’s family and personal medical history for signs of any genetic disease. Her genetic counselor knew that her risk of breast and ovarian cancer could be passed down through either parent’s side of the family, and recommended Jackie get genetic testingTests that involve analyzing DNA, the chemical database that carries instructions for your body’s functions, to look for a genetic change that may show a higher risk of getting a disease. which is how she learned she is positive for a BRCA1 gene mutation.
Jackie and her genetic counselor discussed the options that were available to manage her risk, which included regular screening for breast cancer and preventive surgeries. Jackie decided to have her ovaries removed. She continues to undergo regular breast cancer screening. Jackie feels empowered by the roadmap she has created to manage her risk, and is hopeful for a bright future for herself and her 4-year-old daughter, Amelia.
Jackie lives in Maryland and works as a medication safety evaluator. She enjoys hiking and spending time with her daughter, who loves science and princesses.