By Mariana Torrado
Genetic testing came up during my first visit to MD Anderson. Why? Because I was only 30 when I received my breast cancer diagnosis, and several of my cousins were diagnosed with cancer in their 30s. In fact, my oncologist, Vicente Valero, M.D., also is my cousin's doctor. He recognized that breast cancer runs in our family.
Looking back, I'm thankful Dr. Valero suggested I see a genetic counselor and get genetic testing. But at the time, I didn't even know what a genetic counselor was.
I had so many questions: What is a BRCA mutation? Did this cause my cancer? Would I pass it along to my children? Would a BRCA mutation make me more likely to develop other cancers?
My first meeting with
the genetic counselor
The first meeting with my genetic counselor was overwhelming. She asked about my ancestry, personal medical history and all of my family's cancer history, starting from my grandparents all the way down to my cousins.