As a naturopathic physician, I am interested in primary prevention, preventing illness, not just catching it early. Because of that, I was encouraged in 2007, based on my family history and European Jewish ancestry, to have the BRCA genetic test. I breathed a small sigh of relief when my test came back negative. I kept up my diagnostic imagining and self-exams along with my pristine lifestyle.
When I was nonetheless diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, I was asked to have genetic testing done. When I reported that I already had and was negative, I was encouraged to get RE-TESTED, that much more was known now about these genes. Lo and behold on RE-TEST, I was positive. After a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, I slated myself for a visit with an oncologic gynecologist in order to plan for removing my ovaries and fallopian tubes. In the end, I had a complete hysterectomy and cancer was found on both ovaries, luckily caught very early; I am about to begin treatment again.
The point of this story and this post is this: If you tested negative for the BRCA gene since the late 1990s, meet with your genetics counselor and see if you should be RE-TESTED; it just might save your life.
For posts where I have written about naturopathic treatment during conventional cancer to improve efficacy, reduce side effects and/or enhance quality of life, see the following. A general piece, on Naturopathic Oncology. Here I expand upon those general concepts. For information about chemotherapy induced hair loss read
here. Lastly, you can read here about adjunctive therapies to consider during radiation treatments.