Tracey's Cancer Journey
After surgery, Tracey and her sister had genetic testing to determine their future risk. It was an easy process. They visited Dr. Kobbermann’s office and met with genetic counselor, Molly Lund, MS, CGC. Lund explained that a simple saliva sample would hold all the DNA needed for the test. The tests revealed that Tracey had an increased risk for ovarian cancer, while her sister’s test came back without an elevated risk. Five to 10 percent of breast cancers are hereditary, and individuals who inherit a specific gene mutation have a greater chance of developing cancer within their lifetime, and at an earlier age.
“Genetic testing has played a big role in how I think about personal cancer risk. The information is powerful,” says Tracey. “And even though I was aware of my mom’s history, I was in denial about my potential of developing breast cancer.”
Lund, Tracey’s genetic counselor, stresses the importance of taking the time to learn your family history to all of her patients, as this is the first step in determining the chance of developing cancer. She also shares the genetic testing is a personal decision, but genetic counselors are trained to evaluate family history and discuss the testing process in detail to help a person decide if it is the right choice for them.
With the knowledge of a chance of ovarian cancer, Tracey chose to have a complete hysterectomy after she completed 16 doses of chemotherapy which were then followed by 28 days of radiation. Tracey completed reconstructive surgery in June 2015 and now is considering the possibly of returning to figure/bodybuilding competitions. “I’ve spoken with my trainer, and I’m ready to return to lifting. It will take a couple of years to get back to where I was before my cancer but I know I can do it,” she said. “After healing from radiation, I started training for a half marathon, which I did in May 2015. Soon after, I began training for another half marathon in October, where I placed 5th in my age group. When I returned from the race, I decided to sign up for another one, with even more motivation to continue competing. With these successes, there’s a possibility I could step back out onto the stage. You can do anything if you want to, so shoot for the stars.”
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