Recently actor Angelina Jolie put the genetics of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer on the map for the public. One to four of 100 women of African American, Hispanic, Asian and White/None-Jewish decent carry the mutated BRCA gene. For individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish decent, the statistics are 10 in 100 women, or 10%.
Pursuing genetic testing for the mutated BRCA gene, and finding out that one has this mutation, is a devastating experience. It forces the individual to make some very difficult decisions: do I have children? do I have IVF to prevent the reproduction of this mutation? Do I undergo disfiguring and painful surgery to remove a not yet diseased part of my body? Do I undergo early menopause and the loss of sexual and possibly cognitive functioning that entails?
These are incredibly painful decisions. Having a therapist who can help guide you through the process can potentially help you regulate your anxiety and manage the mourning process.
Because of my Somatic Experiencing training, I am also able to help you prepare for surgery, should you opt for that as a risk reduction strategy. This can be a physically, emotionally and spiritually heart-wrenching experience.