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My Hero

Dear Editor,

I want to tell you about my hero. Let me give you a little bit of background to the subject. I have a very strong family history of breast cancer: my grandmother, my mother, three aunts, and a sister have all had breast cancer. Four years ago, I discovered I had it too. After my diagnosis, Dr. Martin Koschnitzke suggested that I take the test for the breast cancer gene mutation. Every person, male and female, has the breast cancer gene. If the gene has mutated, then the chances of having breast cancer by age 70 is 85%, and ovarian cancer is 40%.

The chances of a reoccurrence are also high. With my family history, it was a surprise that my results were negative. I wanted answers as to why my family has been so affected by this disease, but at the time, there were none.

Finally, four years later, I have gotten some answers. Through your contributions to agencies like the American Cancer Society, Livestrong, and Race for the Cure, researchers have been able to develop a new test, (the BART test) to identify the gene mutation. Because we live in a town where the doctors keep up on the latest research, and then act, I was able to make proactive decisions about my healthcare. Dr. K told me about this test. I took the test in June, and my results came back positive.

Dr. K is my hero for helping to keep my family healthy, and we will be forever grateful. When I called my Aunt Mary to let her know my results, she cried. Mary, a cancer survivor herself, has lost her mother and two sisters to this disease. Her daughters can now use this information to make informed decisions. One of my four sisters received her test results last week, and they came back positive. She has never had breast cancer, but I believe that Dr. K has saved her life.

If your family has a history of breast cancer, I urge you to pursue this test. There is no telling how many lives could be saved if only people were able to catch their cancers early.

Dr. Koschnitzke is my hero for his dedication to his patients and his dedication to helping find a cure for breast cancer. He has made my life and that of my family better; and I want to thank him publically.

Elizabeth Repola

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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