As part of our recent move to the Bay Area, I started scheduling appointments to meet doctors who could perform my prophylactic mastectomy and hysterectomy. I had the first of these set a few weeks after we arrived. But just three days after opening the door on our new home, I felt a lump while I was breastfeeding my nearly 3-month-old. I was subsequently diagnosed with an early-stage breast cancer.
One day after my last chemo and exactly one month before a bilateral mastectomy that's been 12 years in the making, why I am writing about this rather than sleeping off the drugs as they work their way through my system? I don't want my daughters to have to go through what I'm going through. (Heck, I'm taking some of the same drugs my mom took!) I don't want them to have to rush their dreams. And I certainly don't want their only solution to be removing body parts.
I strongly believe, as I did over a decade ago when I first conceived this film, that one of the barriers to finding better answers are the patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes held by Myriad Genetics.
Joanna Rudnick, Filmmaker
- In the Family - full POV 2008 documentary by Joanna Rudnick (video)
- BRCA1 and BRCA2: Cancer Risk and Genetic Testing - National (USA) Cancer Institute (article)
- Angelina Jolie's My Medical Choice (NY Times)
- New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation (website)
- Breast and Ovarian cancer (Wikipedia)
- Fear of breast cancer recurrence prompting women to choose prophylactic mastectomy (Harvard Medical School)
- Testing BRCA1 Positive: What Happens Next (Huffington Post)