• By Ashley Thompson
  • Posted September 14, 2023

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Spotlight: Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation

Norma was a healthy, active 65-year-old woman who was rarely sick and had always been proactive about her health. She went to her internist complaining of weight gain, abdominal discomfort, and a chronic cough. When the diagnosis was finally made, Norma had stage 4 ovarian cancer. She endured nine hours of surgery, countless rounds of chemotherapy, …

  • By Catherine Schultz, MS, CGC
  • Posted March 23, 2023

Ambry Genetics Diagnostic Dilemma: +RNAinsight® Reveals Lynch Syndrome in Sisters

In recognition of Colon Cancer Awareness Month, Ambry would like to share the story of Jane and Julie Smith (not their real names) – sisters and cancer survivors. Jane was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2004 at the age of 36. While she was concerned about her diagnosis and family history of ovarian cancer, genetic testing was not widely available …

  • By Jodi Tahsler
  • Posted March 8, 2023

International Women’s Day: Spotlighting Cathrine Keller, MD, A Woman of Substance

Being a “woman of substance” requires a passion for benefitting the greater good. Dr. Cathrine Keller has it in abundance. “We believe the greater good is to put our patients’ health and safety at the epicenter of every decision we make.”   A woman of substance seldom has a neutral position. As a leader in the fight against breast cancer, …

  • By Layla Shahmirzadi, MS, CGC, LGC
  • Posted September 4, 2018

3 Things You Need to Know about OvaNext

Ovarian cancer can often appear quietly, with non-specific symptoms, making it difficult to detect at an early stage. Knowing if someone is at an increased risk for ovarian and other cancers can be critical for guiding early detection, prevention, or treatment. Genetic testing can help identify patients with hereditary cancer, allowing for personalized …

  • By Kim Price
  • Posted September 18, 2017

Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer- What you Need to Know

The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition® has been supporting the women, families, and caregivers affected by ovarian cancer for more than 25 years.  With 1 in 75 women being diagnosed with the disease, the NOCC is especially focused during the month of September on bringing earlier awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease to women throughout …

  • By Cynthia Rigali Lund
  • Posted September 18, 2017

Life After Chemotherapy and Surgery for Ovarian Cancer

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a wonderful way to encourage women to create a deeper consciousness about their bodies. As I approach my five-year survivor date—the closest marker we have to saying “cured,”  I can say with deepest gratitude how much I appreciate my body and all that it does for me, as well as how much …

  • By James L. Wilder, MD
  • Posted September 11, 2017

The Benefits of Genetic Testing for Your GYN/ONC Practice

An estimated 22,440 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2017. Early detection is critical for successful treatment of this disease, which has a 5-year survival rate of 92.5% for women who are diagnosed with early stage/localized ovarian cancer.1 We hope that Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month will bring more women to their healthcare providers …

  • By Randalynn Vasel
  • Posted September 5, 2017

5 Ways my Friends and Family are Helping my Kids While I Battle Ovarian Cancer

Battling ovarian cancer is HARD.  It’s humbling and some days it forces you to use every ounce of energy you have to lift your head off the pillow.  Ovarian cancer doesn’t discriminate and hits out of nowhere, with no warning.  As a mother of two young children, it wasn’t just difficult for me - the diagnosis, surgeries and treatment affected …

  • By Cynthia Rigali Lund
  • Posted June 8, 2017

Things I Know for Sure this Cancer Survivors Month

  *Editor’s Note: June is National Cancer Survivors Month, and Ambry Genetics will be celebrating cancer survivors as well as their families and communities by sharing their inspiring stories.   Although part of me wants to forget, I hear the whispers every day. As a cancer survivor of 4 ½ years, June is a special month that commemorates …

  • By Cynthia Rigali Lund
  • Posted February 2, 2017

Additional Healing Methods to Fight Cancer: Your Local Community Center

Cancer is an equal opportunity disease: It affects people regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic background or race. One day, you may be walking along, seemingly healthy as a horse and the next day—you’re diagnosed with cancer. Your outlook may be bleak; it might be optimistic. Either way, as the person diagnosed, it’s a feeling of being …

  • By Cynthia Rigali Lund
  • Posted December 1, 2016

Despite Cancer, Holiday Abundance Awaits

Editor's Note: This is a continuation of Cynthia's initial experience of being diagnosed with hereditary ovarian cancer in 2012, which she began to tell us in her post from September 29, 2016.   With an October diagnosis, the holiday season was going to be a new experience for our family of five. Although difficult in many ways, …

  • By Cynthia Rigali Lund
  • Posted September 29, 2016

In The Beginning: My Ovaries Were Talking, but I Wasn't Listening

What a perfect time to begin my story — we are in the middle of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, as well as National HBOC (hereditary breast and ovarian cancer) Week. I love when things line up like it was all meant to be… Things did not line up for me in October of 2012. While preparing funeral arrangements for my dad …

  • By Theresa Smith
  • Posted March 8, 2016

These are my genetic test results... please don't shoot the messenger.

The initial shock from receiving my positive results for the BRCA2 gene mutation was now turning into "a low grade fever" of concern, which was my new reality. I already explained the news to my immediate family, but I started thinking about all the extended family members my result could affect, too. My extended family is large - over …

  • By Dr. Robina Smith
  • Posted January 28, 2016

Preventive Oncology

To this date, we cannot totally prevent cancer from forming; however, for certain cancers we can reduce the risk of it developing. Approximately one half of cancer cases can be prevented by modifying risk factors or by early detection of precancerous lesions. For breast and ovarian cancers, approximately 10% will develop due to hereditary predisposition. …

  • By Theresa Smith
  • Posted January 26, 2016

You want to take my ovaries out?

I was diagnosed with a BRCA2 gene mutation on August 1, 2013. My surgery for a complete preventive hysterectomy (to remove my ovaries, Fallopian tubes, cervix, and uterus) was just six weeks later on September 11. I requested to undergo BRCA1/2 genetic testing as a “tie breaker” to help me decide if I should have the surgery, …

  • By Theresa Smith
  • Posted January 14, 2016

Watching and Waiting for Cancer

So I met all the doctors. What now? All the information and options were given to me, and it was overwhelming, to say the least. I was considering both preventive surgeries (full hysterectomy and preventive bilateral mastectomy (PBM) with reconstruction). I was playing the “odds versus timing” game in my head: “If I wait until I’m X years …

  • By Dr. Robina Smith
  • Posted January 13, 2016

Understanding Screening Guidelines

Cancer is smarter than man. It develops whenever it wants to without asking for permission from us. That is a fact. However, medicine has evolved over centuries to the point that we can predict which population is at risk for certain cancers. We have also developed processes that allow for us to check for the presence of cancer. This is the process …

  • By Deepti Babu, MS, CGC
  • Posted January 8, 2016

3 reasons why this blog is worth your time

By now, I hope some of you are coming to hereditarycancer.com regularly to poke around, and to check for new "BRCA & Beyond" posts. If you're not a regular, welcome! If you are familiar with our blog, you'll notice that I'm a new voice to the mix. My name is Deepti Babu, and I am a genetic counselor. After working with families in a hospital …

  • By Dr. Robina Smith
  • Posted January 7, 2016

6 questions to ask your doctor about your cancer diagnosis

Doubt, anger and confusion. These are understandable feelings to have, if you or someone close to you discovers that you/they have cancer, or may carry genes that increase the risk for cancer. What does that mean? What happens now? What is cancer? You may have been given unexpected news and may not know where to turn, who to see, or what to …

  • By Eve Mart
  • Posted January 6, 2016

Being Your Own Healthcare Advocate

There is no manual to this cancer thing. I quickly learned that I would have to be my own best advocate. In my case, my primary healthcare physician wasn't involved in the course of my cancer treatment. Maybe my situation was atypical, given that my radiologist was the father of a close friend. I had been diagnosed with breast cancer and the pathology …

  • By Dr. Robina Smith
  • Posted December 31, 2015

How can I reduce my risk or prevent cancers?

These two questions are commonly asked when someone realizes that they (or their family member) have an increased risk to develop a particular cancer in their lifetime. It should be understood that every living person has a small chance to develop various cancers throughout his/her life. Cancers are a group of more than 100 diseases that occur …

  • By Theresa Smith
  • Posted December 29, 2015

Now that I know my DNA is messed up, what do I do next?

Sharing the news about my test results with my immediate family was tough. I'll offer some thoughts here based on my experience, but you'll know what works best for you. The adult conversations I had ended up with me being asked a lot of questions, and I didn't even yet know the answers. If this happens to you, you could consider sending adult …

  • By Jessica Profato, MS, CGC
  • Posted December 24, 2015

What does it even mean to have a BRCA gene mutation?

Our "BRCA & Beyond" blog continues to be a place where we discuss and share information about important topics surrounding BRCA1/2 mutations, and we hope you find it helpful. For this post, I wanted to share some scientific background with you about what it actually means to have a BRCA1/2 (often referred to as "BRCA") gene mutation that …

  • By Eve Mart
  • Posted December 22, 2015

The Results of Genetic Testing Impacts Lives

Before my breast cancer diagnosis, I had a brief conversation with my OB/GYN physician regarding my potentially increased breast cancer risk. I was coming up on my 35th birthday, and thought it might be responsible to schedule a baseline mammogram. I don't recall anything remarkable about that conversation with my doctor. She provided me with …

  • By Jessica Profato, MS, CGC
  • Posted December 18, 2015

What do Genetic Counselors Do? (Original)

My name is Jessica Profato-Partlow. I am a relatively new member of the Ambry Genetics family, and very excited to be a part of Hereditarycancer.com. As a clinical genetic counselor prior to joining Ambry, I spent several years providing hereditary cancer genetic counseling services to many families at a busy cancer hospital. In that setting, …

  • By Theresa Smith
  • Posted December 16, 2015

I tested positive for a gene mutation?

"You have tested positive for a BRCA2 gene mutation. .." Really? Are you sure? "Yes," the geneticist says, "...here are your results." You have a mutation in your DNA, "6503delTT." Although I knew I may be positive for the BRCA genetic mutation, I convinced myself over the eight weeks I had to wait for the results, that I probably …

  • By Dr. Robina Smith
  • Posted December 11, 2015

Knowing your hereditary cancer risks may save your life.

As a breast cancer surgeon, it is obvious to see where my commitment and compassion lie. Serving and saving the lives of women (and men) affected by breast cancer is why I pursued a breast surgery fellowship and specialized solely in Breast Surgical Oncology. Besides treating patients diagnosed with breast cancer, I also managed and treated women …

  • By Eve Mart
  • Posted December 9, 2015

"Five minutes ago, I was having lunch... and now I have cancer?"

My name is Eve and I am a breast cancer survivor. Sounds like an introduction at an AA meeting. Let's try this again... my name is Eve and I am a vivacious, animal loving, bicycle riding, paddle boarding, educated professional who happens to also be a 7-year breast cancer survivor at the age of 42. Sound better? Being a breast cancer survivor …

  • By Michelle Jackson
  • Posted December 4, 2015

What is hereditarycancer.com and how can it benefit me?

My name is Michelle Jackson. I am a genetic counselor that began working at Ambry Genetics after years providing genetic counseling to many families in a busy cancer hospital. I know firsthand how cancer has affected my family, but also how it has impacted the thousands of families I saw before I came to Ambry. I am also a mother, a wife, …

  • By Theresa Smith
  • Posted December 4, 2015

The little voice inside me was whispering, "Something isn't right..."

My name is Theresa Smith, and I grew up in beautiful Laguna Niguel, CA. I am part of a large, loving family where many members have been affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. I plan to share with you my experiences and hope, which may help you on your journey. My stories and experiences may be very similar to what you are going …