My sister, Bea, was 35 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and 38 years old when she died in 1993. She left behind a husband, two toddlers and, innocently, a genetic legacy that our family continues to confront today.
Reading books for emotional support can help you overcome dark days, uplift your spirits and even prompt new perspectives and help you focus on the big picture, physicians say.
If you are dealing with breast cancer, you can find authoritative health guides, patient-centered guides, memoirs and novels.
All cancers are caused by genetic mutations, but not all genetic mutations are inherited. When the genes that suppress runaway cell growth don’t function correctly, cells divide uncontrollably and clump together in a tumor. That’s what we call cancer. In most cases of breast cancer, these genes turn faulty because of some environmental factor, like smoking or too much radiation. Other times, though, you inherit a copy from your parents. That’s an inherited mutation.
“CANCER” IS ONE word nobody wants to hear from their doctor. Unfortunately, according to American Cancer Society (cancer.org) estimate, more than 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2016.
If you follow women’s health news, you’ve likely heard something about the American Cancer Society’s new—and controversial—guidelines that recommend the following:
• Women get their first mammogram at 45 instead of 40.
• Those 55 and older get screened every other year instead of annually.
Dr. Theodora Ross is a leading researcher on cancer susceptibility genes, as well as a practitioner who specialized in treating breast cancer for more than a decade. She now cares for all types of patients who have a family history of cancer and is also a carrier of a cancer-causing mutation. Dr. Ross joins us to discuss her book “A Cancer In The Family” which mixes memoir and science. Survivor Spotlight on young adult breast cancer survivor Katie Campbell.
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At the upcoming meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO), more than 150 presentations are planned on recent discoveries about how genes may predict cancer. The presenters range from health research luminaries like the Mayo Clinic to for-profit companies such as Myriad Genetics.
In 2014, Diana visited our genetics clinic in Texas. She was only in her early 40s, but her mother had died of breast cancer at 42, and two of her aunts had received the same diagnosis at young ages. As we tested her for a panel of breast cancer gene mutations, she joked about her Irish heritage, of which she was clearly proud.
As an oncologist, geneticist and professor of medicine, Theodora Ross, MD, PhD, spends her days studying cancer risk and treatment. But as a woman, she also understands the issue firsthand: she is the carrier of a BRCA1 mutation, which leaves her genetically predisposed to breast and ovarian cancer. In her new book, “A Cancer in the Family: Take Control of Your Genetic Inheritance,” Dr. Ross takes on the topic from both a scientific and personal perspective.
Theodora Ross, the director of the Cancer Genetics Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, has a lot of experience with breast cancer — both treating it and dealing with her family’s history of cancer, Terry Gross from NPR’s Fresh Air reports.