My entire life, I have had one surgery after the next. They were all spaced about 2-3 years apart and most of them were for different things. The most notable was when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 9. The other surgeries were mainly benign tumors with several surgeries being for fibroid tumors in both breasts. We never thought the situations were connected, just assumed that I had some bad luck and eventually I’d grow out of it.
When I was 19 years old, I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. I spent two weeks in the hospital as they ran tests and eventually operated. My neurosurgeon studied my history and suggested I get genetic testing for Cowden’s Syndrome which is a mutation of the tumor suppressor gene. I had the test run about 5 months later and it was confirmed. I had a genetic mutation which had been the root cause of all of my medical problems.
Cowden’s is a mutation of the P10 gene which is the tumor suppressor gene. Cowden’s also carries a higher risk for breast cancer as well as some other cancers. When I was 25, the doctor began suggesting that I have a prophylactic mastectomy to manage my breast cancer risk. I had already had two “near-miss” biopsies so he knew the time was running out for me. At age 27, I had a prophylactic mastectomy.
While it has been a long and emotional process, I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Whatever life and my Cowden’s syndrome throws at me next, I’ve beaten breast cancer to the punch. I’m officially and proudly a PREVIVOR!
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.