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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

The Answer Is 'Everyone'

Published October 9, 2008 9:58 PM by Amy McGuire

The instructor asked us to raise our hand if we knew of someone who had or has breast cancer. Everyone in the class raised their hand.

Then she asked us to raise our hand if we knew of someone or we ourselves have had the BRAC analysis test. Only one person raised her hand. That one person was me.

My younger sister survived stage II breast cancer 5 years ago. She is now 43. My ob/gyn of 20+ years felt strongly I should get the blood test to learn my genetic possibility for breast and ovarian cancer. With blessings from above, my test was negative.

However ... and this is a big however. The negative result does not preclude my need to get a twice yearly mammogram, eat healthy, exercise, etc. In addition, the BRAC analysis does not include all mutations, only the ones we know about now. As with all types of cancers, there is always the great unknown.

My sister is an LVN earning her RN, and she is my hero. As an editor for ADVANCE for Nurses, I am curious about the number of nurses who have survived breast cancer. I am in awe of my sister's bravery to continue caring for others when she herself was so ill.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I want to raise my hand to symbolize my support to the number of nurses fighting breast cancer at the present time, and I want you to know everyone is touched by this disease. You are not alone.

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