The unknown has always been welcomed by me, this evidenced by my tendency towards a gypsy lifestyle and desire to never plan. When I was pregnant with both of my children I had no desire to find out the gender before birth as that takes away one of the biggest moments of life. It never crossed my mind to do a genetic test for my personal well being; all of the females in my family are healthy and have lived long long lives... into their late 90's. Breast cancer changed all of this as the treatment plan is tailored according to your genetics. I quickly learned that I had to be tested, otherwise my treatment prognosis would be unknown; these results would go into my medical file. I tried to have the data disclosed to me personally and was denied because practitioners need to see the results with your name on it (private genetic testing is coded). Insurance doesn't cover genetic testing so it is as $250 out of pocket cost.
Four days later I was told I had a mutation in BRCA2 - this was shocking considering my family history, but explained why I had breast cancer at such a young age.
I also learned that there is a link to prostate cancer and BRCA mutations. Interestingly enough there is prostate cancer on my father's side. I have flagged this as an area that needs research and advocacy.
Despite the number of times that I checked the box for "father - prostate cancer" - not once has any medical provider discussed the need for genetic testing.
Genetic testing is a hot topic - but if you or your loved ones have had breast or aggressive forms of prostate cancer, please please please get tested. Not only should we do breast self exams, we should be preventing with data as well.
If someone in your immediate family has tested positive for BRCA mutation, the family can be tested for free with a copy of the results documenting positive mutation.