Get Yourself Tested

February 5, 2015 at 11:37am from Candice Campbell I am writing this note today to make a plea... Get yourself tested!

As you may know, I was diagnosed in September 2014 with ovarian cancer. I have had a full hysterecomy and 4 chemo treatments so far. One of the masses found via catscan did not shrink with the chemo given. It was not able to be removed in surgery either since too interconncected with other organs and blood supply. I will soon start on another form of chemo and hope this one works to shrink it, so that possible future surgery can be done to remove it.
Continue reading below ....

During all this, I had some bloodwork done for genetic testing. As a 2nd cousin of mine on my mom`s side, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the spring and tested positive for the BRCA2 gene, I was also tested for this. Tests confirmed that I too have this mutant gene, and because I have this gene, my children have a 50% chance of also having it or being a carrier. As testing cannot be done until the age of 18, we wait, but are forewarned that they could have a higher risk of getting cancer. My sister was tested and her test came back negative (Thank God!).
Why get genetic testing? It can save your life! To determine breast cancer, there is self exams and mammograms available so that we can catch this at an earlier stage. There is no test for ovarian cancer. When it is diagnosed, it is usually in the later stages..(In my case stage 4.) Testing positive for BRCA2 or 1 is not a life sentence. It just gives you the information you need to make a better decision about what you can do to prevent cancer from occuring. Knowing you have it or not is the first step (and admittedly a scary one). I`m the type of person that wants to know... no matter what, tell me what`s going on and I`ll deal with it. (I tend to worry about the what could bes... and that`s not good.) By having this genetic information beforehand, you are able to make careful, informed and well thought out decisions about preventative surgeries and even reproductive planning on your own timeframe rather than on the fly when faced with a diagnoses of cancer. Some cancers are very active and can spread quickly... and it's a whole lot easier making life choices/decisions when not under all that stress.
Anyways, getting back to my point... get yourself tested!
I have a strong family history of many different types of cancer including ovarian, prostate, bowel, breast, skin etc. on both sides of my family. The genetic testing asks for some bloodwork and a bit of paperwork, that is all. Basically, they want to know who is in your family up to and including grandparents and great aunt and uncles, how they died (or still living) and if cancer related, then when diagnosed and what form of cancer. This could take some time, as not everyone knows birthdates let alone the rest of the information they asking for... I can sent a copy of my paperwork if you think it will help.
I recently found out another 2nd cousin on my mom`s side was diagnosed with breast cancer in December. A biopsy, and lumpectomy has been done and she has had her first chemo treatment. I am distressed that yet another member of my family is battling this disease.... but I am also empowered knowing that we are both fighters and will overcome! If I had known I was at a higher risk BEFORE I got my cancer, I would have done anything and everything to PREVENT it! This is the opportunity I am hoping you`ll take. Ask you family doctor for genetic testing. Let them know that I (Sharon Candice Campbell from Hamilton, ON) tested positive for BRCA2 and how I am related to you (cousin, sister, niece...) and arm yourself with the knowledge when results come back with the power to stop cancer in it`s tracks BEFORE it happens to you also.

Thank you!