What does a Honey Badger and BRCA Genetic Mutation Have in Common?

Pretty much nothing except I wouldn't want to deal with either of them! 

If you haven't seen this video about the Honey Badger...go watch.  Too funny!

Ok...so what is the BRCA mutation?  Let me give you the 411...

One of the things they recommend you do when you get diagnosed with cancer at a young age (under the age of 50 is young in the breast cancer world) is to be tested for the breast cancer genetic mutation-or BRCA.  Out of all the women diagnosed with breast cancer, roughly 6% of them will be carriers of the genetic mutations BRCA1 or BRCA2.  If you are diagnosed (as I was) under the age of 40, your risk factor goes up to about 10%.  Not an alarming statistic, but it can have some pretty signifcant implications.

Jeff and I met with a genetic counselor last month because my doctors wanted me to get tested.  Here's the deal with that.  If you test positive, not only does your risk factor for breast cancer increase dramatically, but so does your risk for ovarian cancer.  Sadly, the screening for ovarian cancer is not even close to being as good as it is for breast cancer, so our genetic counselor said her recommendation would be to have a complete hysterectomy.  Not only that, but it has some serious implications for Mandi.  She would have to be tested as soon as she was 18 and if she were positive, she would need to be screened for breast cancer starting in her mid 20's and would have to make some major decisions regarding how aggressive she would want to be to avoid a cancer diagnosis.  Some women who have a family history of breast cancer and test positive for one of the BRCA mutations, opt to have mastectomies and hysterectomies prior to any cancer.  This may sound extreme, but in some families it's not an issue of will they get cancer, but when will they get it. 

So who wants to even think about this stuff?  Well, a woman diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age with a 16 year old daughter does...that's who.  So we had the test done and I've been waiting about four weeks for the results.  This was kind of the last hurdle to jump in order to have a clear picture of what my long term prognosis would be.  I was also anxious to know if I'd need to start planning a hysterectomy and how to fit that into my busy schedule.  I got my results today and I was....NEGATIVE!!!!  Woo hoo!!!  Good news...finally!

It amazes me what these smarty pants scientists are able to figure out.  BRCA1 and BRCA2 are only two mutations they've been able to pinpoint, and there are still families with significant history of cancers that test negative for this.  Basically that means there are other mutations causing cancer in families, they just haven't been able to isolate them yet...but they're working on it!  We were told that even though I tested negative,  Mandi will need to start being screened for breast cancer when she is ten years younger than I was at diagnosis.  This means she'll start having mammograms at the age of 29.  We have 13 years to find a cure people!  So my daughter-or anyone else's-never have to go through this. 


  1. Libby! I'm so excited and thrilled the genetic testing was negative...what wonderful news. I think of you often and when I do, I smile everytime! Take care and see you soon, Michelle P.

  2. Negative! I love Negative! So happy for you!


  3. Great news, Libby! Keep up that positive attitude...and I'm with you on finding a cure of course - I have an 8 year old daughter who is going to be doing the early screening too. Thinking of you! Tracey Elfstrom

  4. Wow thank God!!!! Its so awesome for Mandy to have the advantage of a mother who is so determined to protect yourself and her. I love you girl. Your family is so blessed to have you. You are a strong amazing women. I love you!

  5. I'm so VERY RELIEVED to find out that your test was negative, Libby. Thank God. Love you!

  6. When I saw the title (heh heh, TITle) I quickly scanned down to to find the word NEGATIVE!!! Yay!
    Thank you, God.
    Carol L.