We always knew that there was a lot of cancer in my family. My grandmother was only 45 when she died from colon cancer and I developed colon cancer at 38. We now know that the cancers were caused by a genetic condition.
My gastroenterologist referred me to a genetic counselor, who explained why it was likely that I had Lynch syndrome. Genetic counseling helped me know that I am not alone with this. We talked about the impact of learning that you have a genetic condition and the pros and cons of genetic testing. When the genetic test confirmed it, I actually felt relieved. Knowing what cancers to screen for, and understanding the genetic syndrome gave me power. I learned about my risks, and then took steps to lower my risks.
The diagnosis definitely impacted my family. Everyone reacted differently to learning they were positive or negative. For me, it is helpful to know that other family members have the gene. I am not alone! Knowing exactly what cancers we need to screen for and more about how the genetic syndrome works gave me power.
Gene Story photos courtesy of Daniel Dunlap Photography