One Indiana family using genetic testing to take control of their lives

Courtesy: WTHI

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – One Wabash Valley family found out the hard way — you can’t control the make-up of your body.

But, you can change lives with the power of information.

A group of women who share the same blood are fighting back against a rare cancer-causing gene by spreading knowledge. These local women all have something in common.. mother, sister, cousin, aunt… But most of all they share the same DNA.

All four women carry the BRCA-1 gene.

“What it is, is it’s a mutation in your DNA that kind of lets people know you kind of have a very high chance of getting breast cancer and ovarian cancer at some point in time in your life,” explained Allison Fell, BRCA-1 carrier.

Cindy Hendrix is the key to this puzzle. Possibly the reason why these women are alive.

At age 32 Cindy got breast cancer and then again at age 52.

“Well I went to my surgeon and he said you have to carry the gene because you had this 20-years apart and you started so young with it at 32,” Cindy told News 10. “I’m pretty sure you carry the gene.”

Genetic testing proved that and that all of them had the gene. A gene that gave them a 65 percent chance of getting breast cancer.

Doctors told them it was unavoidable.

So, they took action. Missy and Ali, Cindy’s nieces, both had surgeries to remove their breasts and ovaries.

“I think it felt horrible at the beginning to know that everything was going to be cut and scarred especially. But it just outweighed the fact that I knew I would be around for my kids,” Missy described.

This is definitely a family faced with a deadly obstacle, but they have been blessed with information. It has given them a second chance to spend more time with their loved ones and to take control of their lives.

Now, all of these women did say that if you know someone in your family who has had breast or ovarian cancer, you may want to consider genetic testing.

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