It is important that women know some of the factors that may increase their risk of developing ovarian cancer. If a woman has any of these risks, it doesn’t necessarily mean she will get it. It just means she is at higher risk than the general population.
If there is a known history of ovarian, breast, or colon cancer in a family, it may be a good idea to ask your doctor about genetic testing. After her mother died of ovarian cancer, Angelina Jolie brought the BRACA gene into the news when she tested positive for one of the mutations and had preventative surgery.
Ten years ago I was a newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patient just beginning my treatments. The only risk factors that increased my chance of getting it were my age (59 at the time of diagnosis) and being post-menopausal. The only person in my family that I knew of who had cancer before me was my maternal aunt who had breast cancer.
A few years after my treatments were finished, I saw a genetic counselor and was tested for the BRACA1 and BRACA2 genetic mutation. My test was negative. A later genetic test found I was positive for Lynch Syndrome which can make a person at higher risk for colon, ovarian, and some other cancers.
So why did I get ovarian cancer? I will probably never know the answer to that.
I just know that every morning I am grateful to wake up above ground. Every day is a gift!
This year I am dedicating the month of September to ovarian cancer awareness. Look for more Teal Tuesday posts.