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Battling the BRCA2 Gene

Lisa Bergantz tells her story of the decisions she made to help prevent Breast Cancer.
Lisa Bergantz, Dr. Gerguson and Dr. Reading all came in to GTU to talk about Lisa's experience living with the BRCA2 gene and the decisions she made to help prevent Breast Cancer. 

Here is Lisa's story:

"My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer (for the 1st time) when she was my age. She recently passed away this spring with her 4th battle with cancer. After the 3rd cancer, she tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation. My 2 sisters and I then went to genetic counselors to get the testing done. My sisters are negative and I am positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation.

The research shows that the best way to reduce my risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers is to remove them. My risk of breast cancer reduced from 87% (and that risk is the chance to get breast cancer over and over and over like my mom) to less than 5%. My ovarian cancer risk reduced from near 60% to close to nothing.

I knew after watching my mother go through this over and over, that I was going to do whatever would reduce my risk the most. I wanted to do all I could to be here for my husband, children and family.

I started a blog to record my BRCA2 Journey for my 4 children, who each have a 50% chance of carrying my gene mutation. I also wanted to share a resource for others if they are going through something similar. It was really important for me to be able to read about others' experiences online as I was trying to figure this all out. There were many blogs and message boards that were so helpful (like FORCE message boards at www.facingourrisk.org).

My BRCA2 blog is http://JakoPisek.blogspot.com. ("Jako Pisek" is the name of a song in the Czech Republic where I served a mission. It's a song about getting back up after and pushing ahead. It's so pretty...you can click to hear it on my blog.)

In Sept 2012, Dr. Soisson performed my hysterectomy and oophorectomy through 3 little holes in my abdomen.
Jan 2013, Dr. Reading performed my mastectomy and at the same time, Dr. Ferguson inserted expanders to begin my breast reconstruction.

I woke up to "flat". Every week or so, I would visit Dr. Ferguson's office where he would inject saline into the expanders to expand the skin and prepare the skin for implants.

June 2013 Dr. Ferguson performed my surgery to take out the expanders and place the implants.

I am grateful for such skilled surgeons who have helped me reduce my risk of cancers so drastically."
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