Jezikah's Story

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"I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 33, so that's what prompted the genetic testing. My medical team wanted the test results before deciding on further treatment. I did test positive for the ATM gene mutation and so we decided to do a bilateral mastectomy based on the increased chance of recurrence and my age. My mom and sister both got tested and were negative for the mutation. My dad will be getting tested soon. His mother died from ovarian cancer but he has three sisters in their 60s and early 70s with no history of cancer. I have a four-year-old daughter and the genetic counselor told me not to worry about getting her tested anytime soon. She said she should get tested when she's 18, but that they'll be 'way smarter then' about genes/genetic mutations, so I shouldn't be too concerned. She also said there is a possibility that the first gene mutation is with me and that I didn't inherit it. It's not likely, but always a possibility that a person is the start of a new mutation.

"Payment was not an issue, I already met my out-of-pocket costs for the year, so my insurance fully covered it. My mom and sister had to pay for the test out of pocket -- I think it was around $300-$400, but it went toward their insurance deductibles. Their test was only for the same specific mutation I have, so they didn't have the full panel like I did.

"Once we know the results of my dad's test, we'll share the results with the extended family. The genetic counselor did suggest sharing the information with aunts/uncles and cousins so they know it runs in the family and/or if they want to get tested."

-- Jezikah, tested positive for ATM genetic mutation

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