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.
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.