Cancer log 29: BRCA…

Cancer log 29:

BRCA testing this morning. BRCA stands for BReast CAncer susceptibility gene. There are two BRCA genes: BRCA1 and BRCA2. Normally, they help protect you from getting cancer. But when you have changes or mutations on one or both of your BRCA genes, cells are more likely to divide and change rapidly, which can lead to cancer.

I'm guessing this will come back negative, since we have so little cancer in my family, but on the other hand, I expected the biopsy would come back negative too; the universe is full of surprises. If it's positive, that means the likelihood of recurrence is higher, which may affect my later decision (in 5-6 months) about how extensive a surgery to have. We'll see how it goes. I think this one is just a swab, so it should be the easiest of the tests.

And then we're hoping to do another MRI, if the referral comes through. The whole referral process has been frustrating and slow enough that I've lost about a week of treatment time, I think. It's unlikely to be a critical week, but still. Yesterday, I switched my hospital-of-record over to Loyola, and picked a new primary care doctor, who should be able to process my referrals much faster.

I'm a little bummed to leave my old doctor, whom I really liked, but Kevin and Roshani were quite certain yesterday that I needed to be proactive about making sure my care was taken care of in a timely fashion, and they're right, of course. At least the hospital switch went smoothly -- both my old hospital and new one are in network, and insurance let me make the change in about five minutes total. It only takes effect on the first of each month, but luckily, that's in a few days, so there won't be any delay to affect me. I'm planning to stop by old doctor's office and drop off a little present of some kind -- probably a book or two of mine. She's been great, and I feel bad abandoning her, though I know she'd tell me I'm being ridiculous and not to worry about it. Stupid insurance system.

The MRI is a repeat -- Loyola felt that the previous one wasn't done well enough for them to be certain of what they were seeing. Beyond the definite cancer, there are two other suspicious areas that they want to look at again. It's possible (likely) that those are just scars from the breast reduction I had in 2011, esp. since they're in roughly parallel locations on the two breasts. If they decide that's not necessarily what they are, it'll mean a MRI-guided biopsy to confirm or deny the presence of additional cancer. It'd be very bad if those came back positive -- it'd move me into a later stage cancer group. Seems unlikely, though, so I'm trying not to borrow trouble.

Right now, test test test, and wait for the results. We'll see what happens.

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