Deciding to have prophylactic surgery

Lori Getz shares advice for women on the important things to consider before deciding to have prophylactic surgery in order to help reduce the risk of cancer
Prophylactic Surgery - Factors To Consider Before Deciding
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Deciding to have prophylactic surgery

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When I first found out that I had this BRCA mutation, my initial reaction was, "Well, just get rid of all the parts that may cause this problem." That was my initial reaction. I kind of saw this whole prophylactic procedure as a vaccine. As I learned more about it, and I spent more time understanding what the implications were, I went through a whole host of emotions. There was an opportunity for me to just continue to have breast MRIs, frequent mammograms, and do early detection to find out if I was going to develop breast cancer, but there's really no early detection for ovarian cancer. The minute you start to have symptoms, and they can see something, it's already too late. For me, the idea of having both of my ovaries removed and having a full hysterectomy--it's called an oophorectomy--and a hysterectomy was a fairly simple decision to make, because I'd already had my children. However, I think that if I had known about the BRCA mutation earlier in my life, that I may have made some very different decisions. It scares me to think that if I'd known about this when I was 18 or 20 years old, that I may have chosen never to have children at all and to have my ovaries removed immediately. I'm so glad that it happened later in my life, after I had the ability to have my own kids. With the prophylactic bilateral mastectomy, it was a very different story; it was a harder decision to make. The breast surgeon that I met with explained to me that even with early detection, breast cancer in most women has a 94% cure rate, but in those women with the BRCA gene, it's usually a recurring cancer. After watching what my mother went through--seeing her develop the primary peritoneal cancer in 2011, and then again in 2012, and watching her be on chemotherapy for the rest of her life--made me realize that this wasn't something I ever wanted to deal with.

Lori Getz shares advice for women on the important things to consider before deciding to have prophylactic surgery in order to help reduce the risk of cancer

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Expert Bio

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Lori Getz, M.A.

Technology Expert

Since 2004 Lori has worked as an Instructional Technologist in Los Angeles, CA. She has a Master of Arts in Educational Technology from San Diego State University and is certified by isafe.org as an Internet Safety Specialist. In September 2008 Lori founded Cyber Education Consultants and began speaking to students, parents, and educators about Internet safety, security and ethics.  Since that time Lori has reached out to Internet users across the world!  Her mission is simple- to help bridge the gap between a young generation of digital natives and their parents and teachers. 

Today, Cyber Education Consultants provides workshops, professional development and consulting services to more than 100 schools across the country.

Lori is an educator, mother, and Internet safety expert.  She has appeared on the "Dr. Phil Show," "Today," "HLN," “Dr. Drew” and several other local news and radio programs (including the Ryan Seacrest show on KIIS FM).  She often lectures live, speaking to parents, teachers and students. Lori has been published in several areas including as an online expert for momlogic.com and kidsinthehouse.org.  Most recently was featured in Rachel Simmons’ new edition of “Odd Girl Out” and Lucie Hemmen’s, Ph.D “Parenting a Teen Girl.” She is currently working with the “I Have a Plan” series to develop a children’s book on online safety.  Her insight comes from both her professional and personal life working with children, tweens and teens.  

 

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