Saturday, April 23, 2011

Visiting Cancer Again

The many social media outlets are there to help with a variety of issues including, but of course not limited to, Cancer. One is drawn to what one needs to research or develop a support system to help them cope. Any disease or psychoses has one or more website and each website has a way for the anonymous member to communicate. This would be a message board, forum or private messaging. When I entered the term "Breast Cancer" into Google one afternoon, there were over 42 million results returned. Although I am sure many are duplicates and some are just out there to sell some miracle cure, I had found a few to be helpful without expecting any in return from its members except the occasional donation to help keep it fiscally sound.

I, however, did not find these websites particularly helpful to my situation. They all dealt with people who are Survivors, who have survived the ordeal of cancer and are still living.

By comparison, the term "BRCA" (Breast Cancer Gene) returned 145.000 results, narrowing my search for information further. FORCE, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered showed up fourth on the list. So I wandered over to and checked it out when I was first told I carried the genetic mutation known as BRCA2.

Ok, this blog has a title about Cancer. Where was I going with this?

Yes, here is the thing. I recently had a conversation on instant messaging with a woman I met through, also known to some of its participants as "BCO". We had met in the real world several years ago with some other women from BCO at an informal get-together for lunch. She is a breast cancer survivor. Last year, it revisited her life. She caught it early and had another mastectomy and reconstruction. The oncologist has suggested to her to take Tamoxifen to help suppress any wandering cancer cells.

She told me that she gave up on the breast cancer sites because she felt there was too much "gloom and doom" and all she wanted to know was what others experienced as side effects to the Tamoxifen. I sent her to look at FORCE and if she couldn't find the topic, post about it herself. The conversation circled around my experience and I told I took it as a preventive measure after finding out I am a previvor. She had no idea what I was talking about so I gave her a short version definition.

For those inquiring minds out there, you can educate yourself as well as others about the word!

I am what FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered) calls a "PREVIVOR".

By definition found on the FORCE website:

Cancer previvors are individuals who are survivors of a predisposition to cancer but who haven’t had the disease. This group includes people who carry a hereditary mutation, a family history of cancer, or some other predisposing factor. The term specifically applies to the portion of our community that has its own unique needs and concerns separate from the general population, but different from those already diagnosed with cancer.

FORCE coined the term previvor in 2000. Since then, the term has been adopted by many high-risk women, healthcare providers and researchers, and was named by Time magazine as one of its top 10 buzzwords of 2007.

As always, I feel so thankful for all that FORCE has done for me and my family. I am glad to pass on information and direct people to its website. I cannot help the entire world but I am doing what I can, one person at a time, in my small corner!

Love and hugs,

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