Genetic Testing for Cancer Risk: My Experience and What I Learned

On genetic testing for inherited mutations that increase risk for cancer.Earlier this year I made the decision to undergo genetic testing to find out whether I’ve inherited any genetic mutation that could increase my risk for a new breast cancer diagnosis or for other cancers.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was only in my mid-thirties. But that was in 1993 and, for a number of reasons, including having no family history of breast or ovarian cancer, I’ve never had genetic testing before. However, I have followed developments in genetic testing for cancer risk with interest over the last several years. And I’ve been struck by how much we’re learning and how much more we seem to know about inherited cancer risk than was the case maybe even five or ten years ago.

Here’s what the experience was like for me and some of the helpful things I learned in the process. Continue reading

Review of “The Gene: An Intimate History” by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Review of 'The Gene: An Intimate History' by Siddhartha MukherjeeI’ve been looking forward to reading Siddhartha Mukherjee’s latest book, “The Gene: An Intimate History”, since it was published last year.

His Pulitzer prize-winning “The Emperor of All Maladies” is one of the most interesting and informative books about cancer that I’ve read. In addition, now that genome sequencing and other forms of genetic testing are becoming more accessible and more common, I hoped this new book would provide some insights about where we are in all of this and what we might realistically expect from more expansive genetic testing in the years to come. Continue reading

5 Cancer Research Stories Worth Following – Winter 2017


Cancer research stories worth following for Winter 2017 include a possible use of an existing drug in triple negative breast cancer to prevent metastasis.What’s the latest news in cancer research that we need to know about? In this post, I’ll briefly review several of the most interesting cancer research stories that have been in the news this winter.

These are a few of the recent stories that seem to have the greatest potential impact, at least from my perspective, and that I know I’ll want to follow as they develop further.

Topics covered this time include a possible new use for an existing drug to prevent metastasis in triple negative breast cancer, and new imaging technology that could provide a noninvasive way to monitor ongoing treatment.

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Gynecologic Cancer Awareness

Cancer "awareness" includes advocating for appropriate levels of funding so real progress can be made against this set of diseases.Since 1999, the month of September has been designated as Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month (GCAM). The goals of GCAM each year have included educating women about the signs and symptoms of gynecologic cancers as well as factors that increase risk for these types of cancer.

This September has particular significance for me and my family. It was at about this time 40 years ago that my mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She was only 50 years old at the time.

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10 Things We Learned About Progress Against Cancer in 2014

Progress against cancer is subject of  "2014 Year in Review" on tabletLooking back over 2014, what are the highlights of the year when it comes to major stories about breast cancer and developments in cancer research?

Here are my picks for the top ten stories that taught me something new, or that seemed to me to offer fresh insights or helpful reinforcement on issues that have been around for a while.

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Top Cancer Research Stories: Late Summer 2014

The topics of major cancer research stories in late Summer 2014  included a new treatment for Her2-positive breast cancer.

What’s interesting in cancer research right now? What do we most need to know about? This is the latest post in a series in which we review several of the most notable cancer research stories that have come out over the previous two to three months.

These are a few of the recent stories that seem to have the greatest potential impact, at least from my perspective, and that I know I’ll want to follow as they develop further.

Topics covered this time include medical decision-making, inherited breast cancer risk and a new drug for HER2-positive breast cancer.

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