Facing Our Risk in a Pandemic
The threat of COVID-19 can be especially scary if you have cancer, are a cancer survivor or face a high risk of developing the disease. Cancer-related organizations advise people with cancer and cancer survivors to take the same precautions that everyone should be following.
The pandemic has forced many to make tough decisions about whether to postpone elective surgeries to reduce their cancer risks. I can only imagine how difficult that must be to finally get close to the surgery date, after making the decision to have a prophylactic mastectomy, for example, and have to postpone the procedure.
While most news these days is understandably focused on COVID-19, I wanted to make sure you do not miss a Washington Post article that demonstrates another reason why expanded BRCA testing is so important: DNA tests grow more vital in hereditary breast cancer treatments. They also raise unanswerable questions.
In short, knowing if you carry a BRCA mutation can help doctors determine which treatments may be most successful. The article quotes Allison Kurian, M.D., Director of the Stanford Women’s Clinical Cancer Genetics Program and associate professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, who serves on the Board of Directors of Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (and a personal hero of mine, who wrote a wonderful blurb for my book, Probably Someday Cancer!):
“There are new drugs for people with these inherited mutations that could help them control their cancer,” says Allison Kurian, an oncologist at Stanford Cancer Center, referring to the recent approval of two targeted therapies known as PARP inhibitors for patients with metastatic breast cancer who have a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Also, I wanted to share some helpful resources I have found this week as I searched the Internet for information on cancer and COVID-19.
Coronavirus: What People With Breast Cancer Need to Know, breastcancer.org
Common Questions About the New Coronavirus Outbreak, American Cancer Society
Finally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some tips for reducing some of the stress we're all feeling here, including taking deep breaths, as I am trying to remember to do, and connecting with others. So, please connect with me here or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
I hope everyone stays safe and well,