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Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

by Sue Friedman, DVM, Rebecca Sutphen, MD, and Kathy Steligo

First things first: This book is very accurately named. To confront – to face in hostility or defiance; to oppose – is not an exaggerated description for the feelings experienced when one has come to the point of realizing his or her hereditary predisposition to cancer. It’s an acute “Now what do I do?” moment, and it feels like armor and weapons, or at least blunt, heavy tools of knowledge, will be necessary to mount a fight.

As an incredibly rich user-manual for anyone in this situation, Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer can serve as one of those heavy tools. It names the experience as “living in a high-risk body,” which feels both meaningful and authoritative. But the book is much more than a reference manual. With the inclusion of personal stories from previvors, survivors, experts and family members, it reads easily and provides comfort as well as comprehensive information for those facing an uncertain future.

Some of the topics include assessing your risk (deciding if you should even have genetic testing); in-depth explanations of what BRCA means, and what test results actually mean; prevention options, including chemoprevention, mastectomy, and oophorectomy; lifestyle choices like nutrition and physical activity; and even some alternative options for prevention that are still being researched.

Author Sue Friedman, DVM, is the founder and executive director of Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), another excellent resource and community for those with “cancer genes” or the potential for them. The authors of this book would undoubtedly argue that more research and more access to genetic testing is needed, both for prevention and for the hope of finding a cure.

If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or have questions about navigating the challenges of cancer risk, this book will guide and support, allowing you to “Be informed. Be empowered. Be well.”

Learn more and order the book at the FORCE website.