Dealing with a BRCA and Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Jennifer is a creative, strong and outgoing woman. She likes to spend time with her husband and has spent the last several years in Texas with him. Jennifer likes to partake in extreme sports and has even made a hobby out of caring for her chickens and building chicken coops. Unfortunately, Jennifer’s life took a turn when she was diagnosed with two types of breast cancer along with BRCA gene mutations. She explains that this journey has been the hardest journey of her whole life.
Jennifer received a diagnosis of two different types of breast cancer as well as a BRCA gene mutation. Everyone has BRCA genes that repair cell damage in the breast and ovaries, but BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 mutations correlate with increased risk of breast cancer. This is because the genes become less effective at repairing broken DNA and preventing breast cancer. Having these genes does not mean a definite breast cancer diagnosis will occur in a person’s life. However, they are linked to up to a 72% risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer and are often linked to higher instances of other cancers according to breastcancer.org.
Unlike some with the BRCA gene mutation, Jennifer’s breast cancer developed later in her life. Her active lifestyle helped her through treatments physically, but her mental health was still affected. The weight of her breast cancer diagnosis and the knowledge of the BRCA mutations greatly affected her. She feared for her family because BRCA mutations are inherited. With this knowledge, her daughter was tested for BRCA mutations to take steps to reduce her future breast cancer risk. Due to the pandemic, Jennifer wasn’t able to have friends or family by her side which made it that much harder. In addition, many breast cancer nonprofits were not operating through the COVID-19 pandemic, making it very difficult for her to find resources. Luckily she came across United Breast Cancer Foundation! UBCF awarded Jennifer an individual grant so she could focus on healing.
Jennifer used the grant to help with the financial side of cancer. This gave her the opportunity to focus on her treatment verse stressing about bills and how to make ends meet. UBCF also awarded Jennifer a vacation in historic Williamsburg, Virginia to get some much needed rest and relaxation. She looks forward to seeing her daughter again and taking this trip with her Uncle as a way to reconnect with him. She plans on using this as a way to disconnect and destress.
With these gifts, Jennifer explained that it has made a huge difference to know someone cared and understood her. She is so thankful for not only the staff at UBCF, but also the donors who made this possible.
UBCF thanks donors for the impact they have on those affected by a breast cancer diagnosis. For more information on how to donate or receive aid from UBCF, please visit UBCF.org