My name is Michelle Frost and I am a breast cancer Previvor.
Previvor: A survivor of a predisposition (or increased risk) for a disease such as cancer.
I found out a close relative had breast cancer in September 2019, and they were positive for the ATM breast cancer gene mutation.
After hearing this news, I reached out to my primary care physician and was referred to the Breast Care Center in Concord for genetic testing with Dana Faber Cancer Institute via televisit in Boston, Mass.
I learned on April 30, 2020, that I was positive for the ATM breast cancer gene mutation. My options were to keep doing mammograms once a year, alternate mammograms and MRI every six months, or a double mastectomy.
I chose the double mastectomy, as radical as it sounds, it lowered my risk of getting breast cancer over my lifetime from 40% to 2%. I had my double mastectomy with reconstruction on Sept. 11, 2020, as I write this, I am 10 days post-surgery. The surgery went really well, and my recovery is “ahead of the curve.”
If you have a high family history of breast cancer, please reach out to your PCP and ask for a referral to a cancer center near you. Be proactive and be your own advocate. I am very fortunate to have been able to make this decision on my own, and not have cancer make it for me.
The American Cancer Society’s mission is important to me because I believe there will be a day that most men and women will also have these same choices, that with all the funds raised yearly for research, they will one day find a cure, and we will celebrate so many more survivors, and with genetic testing, there will be many more Previvors.