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  • Writer's pictureSurviving Breast Cancer

Reassurance for Genetic Testing

By Kristen Carter

Making a collage or vision board can help you feel positive about life again.

Dear Kristen, I know I should do genetic testing so it can inform my family, especially my daughters, but I’m nervous to find out the results. Ignorance is bliss, right? -Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Is ignorance really bliss? I know that’s a popular sentiment – and I understand the statement in regards to genetic testing might feel safer than the test itself – but so is the statement, “knowledge is power.” I think in this case I’d want the power.

Personally, I was scared and I let my doctor know. She was of immense comfort and reassurance, and she even snagged an extra nurse to hold my hand during the blood draw. And it wasn’t about fear of the extraction, but about the many emotions surrounding it.

Facing our biggest fears is hard, no doubt about it. It requires us to willingly submit to being vulnerable, and none of us enjoy that feeling. But whether you know your genetic status or not doesn’t change the FACT of it: It’s either positive or negative. And if negative, you will know, and if positive, you will also know and then know what steps to take. However, in certain cases, it is possible that a genetics test could come back as a "variant of unknown significance". This is a bit of a gray area meaning that there is not enough data to say for sure if it's positive or negative. As such, VUS results are treated as negative until proven otherwise.

You and your daughters deserve to know, and to know in time to take actions based on the results.

Still feeling nervous but want to face the fear? Talking to your doctor about your fears and “what ifs” has always helped my heart. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and hey, why not ask another nurse to hold your hand while your blood is being drawn? Support is at your fingertips!

So, I am empowering you to be brave! Good luck, and come back and tell us how the testing went and what you decided to do as a result. We really do care, and so many of us have been in your shoes. Our hearts (and power) are with you, anonymous.

xo Kristen

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