Saturday, September 27, 2014
Previvor: Survivor of Increased Risk for a Disease (Video 2:53)
Have you survived living with a genetic predisposition for developing a particular disease such as cancer? If so, you are a previvor. Previvors are often confronted with having to make decisions about their health that may include aggressive screening and surgery in order to manage the risks involved in getting a disease if they don’t. These decisions impact them and their families as the cycle of disease through generations creates worry and fear.
Genetic testing determines a person's risk for developing certain diseases. Testing can lead to the implementation of risk-reducing interventions such as more screening, surgical prevention, and chemoprevention. A harmful mutation can be inherited from a person’s mother or father. Each child of a parent who carries a mutation in one of these genes has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the mutation.
Maria’s father died from cancer in 1998. Her sister was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 27. It was important for Maria to find out if she carried a gene mutation related to Lynch syndrome, a type of inherited digestive tract cancer that her sister had. In this video, she describes her journey before and after being tested and how she became empowered to make her decision regarding surgery.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.