National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Week

2012 National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week

September 23 – September 30

And National Previvor* Day on September 26

(*Previvors are those who carry the gene mutation but have not developed cancer.)

 

FORCE Recognizes Families Affected by Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer During this Special Awareness Week

 

 You may have your dad’s eyes and your mom’s smile, but you can also inherit risk for cancer from either parent.  Some families carry a genetic change known as a mutation in genes called BRCA 1 or BRCA 2. These gene changes can cause a very high risk for breast and ovarian cancer to run in the family.

 

Hereditary breast and ovarian cancers have aggressively attacked generations of families and FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered is the only national nonprofit dedicated to awareness, advocacy, research and support for those affected by these cancers.

 

National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Week marks the transition between National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The goal of HBOC Week and Previvor Day is to raise awareness about hereditary cancer.  During this week, from September 23 – September 30, FORCE is recognizing and celebrating those who have been affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, including women and men with BRCA mutations, anyone with a family history of cancer, breast and ovarian cancer survivors, and previvors – individuals who are living with a very high risk for cancer but have not developed the disease.

 

“Through awareness and education, the more than 750,000 people in the United States who carry the positive BRCA gene mutation can take steps to prevent cancer from continuing to impact the next generations. Today, an estimated  90% of those people do not know they carry this gene mutation.”  We want families to pass down recipes, photos and memories to the next generation, not the risk of cancer.”

 

 Edwards is a breast cancer survivor who carries the BRCA gene mutation. There is a 50% chance of inheriting the mutation and she inherited it from her father.   Her only daughter has also tested positive for the mutation. Jennifer understands there are people who feel afraid to do heredity testing. But knowledge is power. She feels that this knowledge now can save generations in her family and no one will have to go through what she did by being surprised. Come visit her blog http://www.cancertogether.wordpress.com.

 

About FORCE

No one should have to face hereditary breast and ovarian cancer alone, and for more than 13 years, FORCE has been the voice of the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer community. FORCE provides support, education and awareness to help those facing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer know their health care options and make informed decisions. The organization is the de facto leader in guiding critical research and policy issues that impact the hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer community.  For more information about FORCE and hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, please visit www.facingourrisk.org.

 

 

The history of the Chalk Mural…

FORCE is an organization for supporting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer.  http://www.facingourrisk.org

The Awareness week begins September 23-29, 2012.  A special Previvor day is on Sept. 26th.  FORCE asked survivors to contact the newspaper and write up a press release to get the information out.  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

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Many people don’t want to get tested  for hereditary cancers.  It is frightening besides many other reasons.  I was apprehensive to have the heredity test done as well.  But I wanted to find the reason why I was surprised with cancer since it was not something that was prominent in my family. But when I found out I had a cancer mutation which was passed down by my father I wanted my family tested.  I did NOT want any of my children to go through what I have had to go through.  My only daughter was tested and also has the mutation.  I was heart broken. But I have been reminded over and over again that because she knows, she won’t be surprised.  That is when I realized that knowledge is power!  By knowing this it can not  only save my daughter, but generations.  I have siblings who choose not to tell.  That makes me frightened for their children for generations too.  The odds are too high!  To just wait and see could be too late!

Instead of a press release, I decided to do something a little different.  My last blog post shows the idea.  I got up and began my very own Chalk Mural!  This blog post shows all the pictures.  Thank you to my son Tyler for helping me.  He did all the lettering around the circle and helped me color for hours.  It says around the circle “I choose to save my children, their children, their children, and theirs,…forever. Thank you to all of the people who came and colored the little girls.  They turned out amazing!

My goal was to finish the mural Saturday because last Wednesday when I began, it was supposed to rain on Sunday. Friday night the mural was done!  But a photographer was scheduled to come Saturday to get on a ladder or up in a high window to get a full view. So I was too tired to bother with a full picture on Friday!

But weather is a lot like cancer.  Surprises come up all the time!  Saturday morning I jumped out of bed and ran to the window because it seemed extra dark for the morning.  I looked down at my mural and it was in a puddle! It rained a day early!!!

The last pictures I got were of it blurred from the rain.  But it fit with the theme.  Don’t get caught in a surprise.  Knowledge really is power.  Please get tested for hereditary breast or ovarian cancer if you think your family is at risk.  Please don’t just think of yourself, think of your little grand daughter, your sister, your own children.  Prevention and screenings can save lives for generations!  I hope the things I had to sacrifice and the things I went through will be for a reason. 

This is the reason!