A Missouri woman's years of mental anguish stemmed from a DNA testing mistake.story in the HuffPost, she "made major decisions — like having a double mastectomy — based on a false positive. I was robbed of the chance to breastfeed my babies, and it broke my heart."
The Kansas City mother of three's recent guest article contends she "just couldn't get past the fact that my inaccurate test result meant I had been carrying around a devastatingly unnecessary burden for more than a decade."
Because she and her two sisters have an extensive family history of cancer (ovarian and breast), Boesen not only opted for the preventive bilateral mastectomy at age 23 but was planning to have a complete hysterectomy by the age of 35. A second DNA test, with its negative result, quashed that idea — especially after a third test also showed she didn't have the dangerous BRAC1 gene mutation that would mean a 75% lifetime risk of getting breast cancer and a 50% chance of contracting ovarian cancer.
What was surprising, Boesen reported, was that the new results "were even more shocking and overwhelming than finding out I was positive. I was feeling so many emotions — confusion, sadness, anger, anxiety, depression, relief — all at once."
More information about false positives, BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, and other prophylactic surgeries can be found in ˆRollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.