Tag Archives: prophylactic

Be strong with the FORCE

The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.
–Obi-Wan Kenobi

Help me, blog reader; you’re my only hope!

This post is a call to action. Time is short and the stakes are high, so I hope you’ll pay some attention. Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask for anything too important like your firstborn child or the scrilla in your wallet. All I want is a few moments of your time and a couple of clicks from your mouse.

I recently learned about something known as the BRCA1 human gene mutation. The name of the gene, BRCA1, actually means “Breast Cancer 1, early onset.” According to Wikipedia, some mutations of this gene “are associated with a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer, as well as other cancers.” I originally learned about this from fellow WordPress blogger Teri Smieja.

I have since learned that women diagnosed with this gene mutation can have increased risk for breast cancer of 87% or higher. Can you even imagine being on the receiving end of news like that??? Following this sort of a diagnosis a procedure known as prophylactic mastectomy is often prescribed. “Prophylactic” means “preventative” and “mastectomy” is the “medical term for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely.” In other words, healthy breasts are often removed simply because the risk of cancer is so incredibly high. This really floored me.

Through Teri I learned about BRCA1 and the web site www.facingourrisk.org. This is the official web site for FORCE which stands for Facing Our Risk of Cancer EMPOWERED. Their beautiful mission statement is: “To improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.”

What does FORCE actually do to support this mission?

To this end, FORCE has eight mission objectives:

  • To provide women with resources to determine whether they are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer due to genetic predisposition, family history, or other factors.
  • To provide information about options for managing and living with these risk factors.
  • To provide support for women as they pursue these options.
  • To provide support for families facing these risks.
  • To raise awareness of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
  • To represent the concerns and interests of our high-risk constituency to the cancer advocacy community, the scientific and medical community, the legislative community, and the general public.
  • To promote research specific to hereditary cancer.
  • To reduce disparities among underserved populations by promoting access to information, resources and clinical trials specific to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

The clock is ticking. As I write this there are only 15 days and counting left to record your vote and make a difference. Your vote could mean more resources for this worthy cause.

Voting is easy, but I’m not too familiar with Facebook. The first time I visited the site I thought I had voted but I actually didn’t. Here’s some easy instructions to make sure your vote counts!

Vote Now!

On Facebook already? It’s easy to vote. Simply click on the button above or visit Chase Community Giving and follow these steps:

  1. Join the movement by scrolling down and clicking the ‘Like’ button.
  2. Click the big green ‘Search’ button and copy this text: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered and paste it in the box that says ‘Charity Name.’ Click search.
  3. When you see “Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered” in blue lettering. Click it.
  4. Scroll down and check the box that says: “Please display my name and profile picture below so this charity knows it can contact me to get more involved.”
  5. Click ‘submit.’ A ‘Request for Permission’ box will pop up. Click ‘Allow.’

Thanks in advance for the supreme effort of a few mouse clicks on your part.

Remember:

The FORCE will be with you, always…

What I decided to give

I wrote yesterday that I had decided to do the NoBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) challenge … again. In short, that’s a committment to post every day for an entire month. I did it last month and it didn’t kill me so I’ve decided to do it in December as well.

This time, however, I’m accepting the voluntary challenge to give “something” to someone every day of the month “and then blog about it.”

Yesterday was actually Day #1 to go out in the world and “give” something. I recently learned about something known as the BRCA1 human gene mutation. The name of the gene, BRCA1, actually means “Breast Cancer 1, early onset.” According to Wikipedia, some mutations of this gene “are associated with a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer, as well as other cancers.” I originally learned about this from a fellow WordPress blogger. She’s already had some surgery and is facing more soon. I decided this was the arena where I wanted to do my first “give.”

I have since learned that women diagnosed with this gene mutation can have increased risk for breast cancer of 87% or higher. Following this sort of a diagnosis a procedure known as prophylactic mastectomy is often prescribed. “Prophylactic” means “preventative” and “mastectomy” is the “medical term for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely.” In other words, healthy breasts are to be removed simply because the risk of cancer is so amazingly high. This really floored me.

A few more thoughts about this giving thing. First, I didn’t want it to be simply about money. For one thing, I can’t afford it, especially now. So that really ramps up the pressure on how to do this challenge. Money may occasionally fill the bill (heh) but I’d rather make this challenge about giving something else. Second, each “give” doesn’t have to be something major. It’ll probably be embarrassing but some days I may be forced to report back and say, “I stopped by the park and picked up someone else’s dog poop.” 🙂

Lastly, I still reserve the right to be negative all I want. This is my crib, yo, and I’ll roll that way when I want. I don’t want the challenge getting all up in that grill, yo.

So anywho … I researched BRCA1 and found the web site www.facingourrisk.org. This is the official web site for FORCE which stands for Facing Our Risk of Cancer EMPOWERED. Their beautiful mission statement is: “To improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.” Bingo! That was exactly what I was looking for. I had already decided I wouldn’t be making a cash donation, as much as I want to, so I examined the web site for other ways to help. I thought maybe I could find an awareness badge or something I could put on my web site.

Then I saw the “Volunteer” link under “How to Help” and I made up my mind. I was going to volunteer! So I sent in an email offering to help and listing my meager skills and asking if there was in any small way I might be able to help. I have already received an enthusiastic response and will be talking to them soon. I’m excited about it.

That’s about it for now. I’ll try to report back later how the volunteering goes. In the meantime, yikes, I already have to find something else to “give” today. What have I gotten myself into???