Some new research

Here are two interesting research studies that came to light recently. They are both targeting triple negative breast cancer, so I feel particularly happy about them!

Tissue Around Tumor Holds Key to Fighting Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Might Smallpox Virus Help Fight a Lethal Breast Cancer?

What makes me not feel happy (womp, womp) is seeing TNBC sensationalized as a “lethal” cancer. Way to make all us TNBCers feel warm and fuzzy, media!


To have kids or not to have kids

After reading this article, My Sister, My Surrogate, I’m kind of pissed I don’t have a sister (thanks, mom and dad). The article is about a woman, who, like me, got breast cancer at 26 and, like me, froze embryos at the time. But because her cancer was estrogen-positive, her doctors advised her not to get pregnant. That’s when her awesome sister stepped up and said, “Put your babies in my belly!” What a good sister.

While I’m not ready for them just yet, the subject of babies has been causing me some consternation. Having BRCA sucks, so on one hand I am extremely against passing on my own seed lest my daughter or other future female descendant be blessed with the lucky fate I have been blessed with. But when I think about adoption and donated eggs and other alternate ways of having children, I get sad that I might have children who don’t possess the genes that make the Scharf/Tator family so wonderful. Our quirky senses of humor (yeah, Zooey Deschanel, we were quirky before it was cool), our smarts, our big ears, our singing voices, etc.

Which one will die of breast cancer before age 40?

At this point, I’m leaning very heavily toward the first hand – not passing on my genes. I see procreating as letting the gene win, whereas if I adopt or use a donated egg, this BRCA gene stops with me. No more. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

But I’m still debating. I’d be interested to hear from other readers with BRCA who are pre-childbearing – is passing the gene on something that bothers you?

Me in the New York Times!

Now that I’m done chemo, I don’t feel as inclined to blog. Maybe it’s because I have less to complain about. It could also be that I’m getting back to life and I’m busy with friends and work (which is REALLY busy right now). Either way, I am happy to report that I feel fantastic and am looking forward to my upcoming surgeries in October and December, which will hopefully result in my having a beautiful rack.

Today I have two things to share. One, I’m in the New York Times feature “Picture Your Life After Cancer“! Sure… I submitted myself… but it’s still exciting. Second, the article Breast cancer: patients with mutation diagnosed earlier than previous generation. When I first saw the title of the article, I thought it would be about women getting diagnosed earlier because they start screening earlier in mutation carriers. But the article comes to a different conclusion: that women with the mutation get cancer earlier than the older generations in their family. I think my explanation is better (though who would take my word over the people at MD Anderson). It just makes sense that if women start screening earlier, they’re going to find breast cancer earlier. My mom could have been screened at my age, and perhaps they would have caught her cancer before it was so far gone that there was nothing they could do about it.

Cool Cancer Genome project at Vanderbilt

This is a really cool website that, although it’s very new and doesn’t yet mention breast cancer, I think is worth checking out. It’s designed for clinicians to help them get a full picture of cancer genetics.

My Cancer Genome

Given the amount of doctors that don’t seem to know anything about the breast cancer genes (!), I think this is a great tool and I hope more hospitals and cancer centers start to offer it so our doctors can be better informed.