I Have a Family History of Breast Cancer
Lisa Porter's life has been touched by breast cancer since the age of 11 when her mother died of the disease, then 15 years ago her sister Christine died. She, along with several members of her entire family carry a gene that has a link to breast cancer. NBC's Candice Lee shares this women's incredible story.
Lisa Porter's first brush with breast cancer came at the age of 11 when her mother died of the disease, then 15 years ago her sister Christine died too and it became clear to Lisa that after three other family members were diagnosed with breast cancer she could be next.
"At that time I did not know about genetic testing or the gene or anything like that, so it just brought back everything from when my mother had passed away."
I Wanted to Know If I Was at Risk
Lisa, a mother of two young boys, began genetic testing at Riverside Hospital. Genetic counselors spend time with patients mapping their family history of cancer. The blood tests can take about two weeks to come back - an agonizing time for patients. Lisa tested positive for the BRCA2 gene in 2008, as did her older sister Joann and her brother. This has left her with two options, do nothing and wait or preventative measures like surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes.
"I was done having children and I didn't have a problem with that at all and then they discussed having a bilateral mastectomy."
My Choices Weren’t Easy, But I’m A Survivor
Lisa went ahead with both surgeries. Five to 10 percent of all breast cancers are hereditary and when a parent has the BRCA 1 or BRCA2 gene there is a 50/50 chance it is passed on to a child. The test gave Lisa a little peace of mind that she will live to raise her sons.