“Facing my risk of cancer empowered.”Courtesy Kendra Montanari
“My mother had breast cancer twice before age 42, so I began mammograms at an early age. During a routine appointment, my radiologist told me about genetic testing. At 31, I learned that I carried a BRCA1 mutation, which placed me at high risk for breast, ovarian and other cancers. I was terrified. I found an amazing support system at FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered) and gained the strength I needed to make some difficult decisions and be proactive about my health. I now have two beautiful daughters and, while I am diligent about my health, I no longer live in fear. There is a lot of misinformation about hereditary cancers, so I encourage anyone concerned about their risk to talk with a nationally certified genetic counselor.” —Kendra Montanari
These are the myths about breast cancer you can safely ignore.
“BRCA is not a death sentence.”courtesy EPS Communications
“When I tested positive for BRCA2, my reaction surprised people. They expected me to cry, yell or be afraid, but I accepted it and moved on. Given my family history—my grandmother, great-grandmother, and great aunt all died of ovarian cancer—I’d assumed since childhood that my own diagnosis was inevitable. I hope other women know that BRCA is not a death sentence. Eight years ago, my mother underwent a hysterectomy that revealed precancerous lesions. Thanks to screenings and modern medicine, she escaped the disease that claimed so many of her relatives. For now, I put my faith in a healthy diet and exercise, regular doctor visits, and advanced cancer research. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t have this same confidence, so my other piece of advice is to get life insurance before getting tested!” —Ali Grise