One Woman's Story: BRCA2, Cancer and Preventative Surgery

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When Mariely Rosario's mother and six sisters were diagnosed with or discovered to be at high risk of breast cancer, she knew the disease was inevitable.

Genetic testing at AdventHealth revealed that Mariely, 35, carried the BRCA2 mutation. A mutation, or harmful change, in one of the two breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 produces a higher risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer, or both.

It's thought that women with the mutation can cut their cancer risk in half by removing their ovaries, the main source of estrogen that fuels breast cancer cells before menopause.

So, in January 2011, Mariely opted for a hysterectomy.

It was a no-brainer, says Mariely. I'm a single mom and all that my son, Christian, has. I'd rather prevent cancer instead of risking it and leaving him alone.

If even one family member has a documented genetic mutation, everyone should be tested, says Olga Ivanov, MD, general surgeon, at AdventHealth.

AdventHealth has programs that specialize in detecting, treating and managing hereditary and genetic cancers. Additionally, genetic counseling is offered. Genetic counseling gives us even greater insight into a family's history so we can all work together to determine the best course of treatment, says Aileen Caceres, MD, gynecologist at AdventHealth. We've taken it to the next level.

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