BUDDY CHECK 7: Family makes difficult decisions after BRCA 1 testing

Published: Sep. 9, 2019 at 3:39 PM CDT
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The risk of being diagnosed with cancer can be increased due to a number of environmental factors, but some genetic factors also give people a higher chance of being diagnosed with the disease.

Sharon Myszka knows all too well what role genetics can play. She's one of four sisters, three of whom who were diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes.

In 2014 she battled it for the second time.

She described the moment she found it that second time around, "I got done mowing the lawn and I was changing and 'Huh!' Oh my gosh, I felt it. I immediately, I ran to the phone. I called Marshfield Clinic. I said, 'I'm a cancer survivor, and I think it's back. I think it's back, I need to see someone.' And they got me in the next day."

Sharon didn't want her daughter or her nieces to go through what she did.

So, she encouraged them to get tested for the BRCA 1 gene. They did, and two of the three girls then learned, they carried it.

Sharon's daughter Lindsey Halverson explained the moment she got the news, "The doctors said, 'yes' I have the gene. I had an 85% chance of getting breast cancer in my lifetime. Now that, it wasn't about if I was going to get it, it was about when."

Sharon added, "It broke my heart, because I didn't want to see my daughter, ya know, lose her life or go through what I had to go through. Chemotherapy twice and the fear of not being there to raise my family."

Lindsey underwent a double mastectomy and dropped her likelihood of breast cancer from 85% down to 7%.

The women want their story to encourage others, and say it's important to be your own advocate and monitor your body closely.