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How Many Cancers?

The first time my mom got cancer was the year I got married.
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The first time my mom got cancer was the year I got married. A lump removed from her breast tissue and then radiation. In terms of what can happen with cancer, it was small and easily treated. At the time it was emotionally difficult and, as corny as it sounds, gave the whole family a new perspective on life.

Mother and daughter

The second time my mom had cancer was seven years later. Ovarian. It was bad. It was very, very bad. Months of chemo, side effects, not really knowing if she could survive. She did, but it wasn’t without long term ramifications. The experience was brutal enough that I have considered a hysterectomy as soon as I can talk a doctor into the procedure.

The next time she had cancer was last year. The flat belly diet she’d put herself on right before the holidays and had, with her iron will, clung to into February of the next year, was not working. That’s because it wasn’t gluttony, it was a tumor. A weird, odd type of intestinal bowel cancer that no one knew what to make of (other than to excise it.)

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Every time I have to give my medical history the cancers come out. “Maternal.” “Breast and ovarian.” “Any other family members?” How do you answer that when yes, all of her female relatives, grandmothers and aunts, also died of some type of cancer in their torsos but we’re not really sure which kind because it was the old country.

Here’s what I know about cancer: I hate it. It’s an evil way to kill people. The way we treat cancer is only one step above the disease itself. Right now, it’s like a patient is in a game of chicken between the chemo killing them, or the cancer. In my lifetime it had better change. It had better be more awesome when I get cancer.

So, do you have a history of breast or ovarian cancer in your family? Have you asked? Do you know the signs of breast and ovarian cancers? Ovarian cancer is particularly difficult to diagnose, so it’s important that you understand if your ancestry puts you at risk and what the symptoms are. You can't change your genes, but you can act responsibly and educate yourself if you are at risk. Today’s Mama is working with Myriad Genetics this month to prompt women to find out if there’s hereditary breast and ovarian cancers in their families. You can even click here to “Like” Just Ask and a $1 will be donated to help fight breast and ovarian cancers.

I already know the answer to the question. Do you?

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