Proud Previvor Orit Berliner
I am a proud Previvor. I’m the daughter and granddaughter of breast cancer survivors and my father was lucky enough to discover his prostate cancer very early on. Considering my family history with cancer, in 2012 I decided to get genetic testing to see if I had one of the BRCA gene mutations. I knew for years I would get tested at some point but I was very nervous about my results because at 15 I watched my mother bravely battle ( and thankfully survive) breast cancer for 2 years. Her fight against breast cancer had a profound impact on me and in 2012, I was now a mother of 2 children myself and wanted to know what my options were.
After testing, I discovered I have the BRCA 2 mutation and met with a genetic counselor to discuss my options for prevention. I choose to be proactive by getting scans every 6 months of my breasts and ovaries as well as a yearly mammogram as a “high risk patient”. I went for my appointments routinely for 2 years until I got pregnant with my 3rd child. I was not able to do scans during my pregnancy and had to wait an additional 4 months once I stopped breast feeding before I could get another mammogram.
In early 2015 I went for a mammogram and breast ultrasound and was told they had found something that required a biopsy. The 3 days I spent waiting for that pathology report after my biopsy were the longest 3 days of my life and when I was told it was nothing and all was well I was beyond relieved but that was the day I decided I would get a preventative double mastectomy.
I had 3 beautiful children, a wonderful and supportive husband and I wanted to do everything I could to make sure I could be here for them and with them for as long as I could. So, in 2016 I went in for my double mastectomy and went from having an 80% chance of ever getting breast cancer to a 2% chance. Those are odds I feel a lot more comfortable with.
I could not be more grateful for the knowledge and options that genetic testing gave me and strongly encourage anyone with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer to get tested. I’m also so honored to work for an amazing organization like JScreen that helps so many women and men like me understand their options for prevention. Knowledge really is power when it comes to genetic screening, the more we know the better equipped we can be.