In Her Own Words
Since the first program was established at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2001, the Lynne Cohen Preventive Care Programs have helped more than 7,000 women and families at increased risk for ovarian and breast cancer nationwide. Here are just a few of their stories.
"I was just a little girl when my Aunt Sally (my dad’s sister) passed away from ovarian cancer. She was young – only 39. Growing up, everyone told me how much I looked like her, and I loved hearing that because she was a beautiful woman. I wanted to be a school teacher, just like her, and although my life took another path, she was always an inspiration and role model to me. I had no idea how much like her I actually was... Thanks to my doctors and the staff at the Lynne Cohen Preventive Care Clinic at USC/Norris Cancer Center, I have been given the gift of life! I now have a chance to take my fate into my own hands." Read more...
Los Angeles, CA
"I had chosen to do genetic testing because of my children and grandchildren. I was especially concerned about my daughter. Although it took her a while to decide to have the genetic testing, the test results showed that as with me, she, too, harbors the BRCA1 genetic mutation. She was proactive and had her ovaries removed and underwent a prophylactic bi-lateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Initially, I felt tremendous guilt at having passed this gene along to my child. I now realize that this knowledge was actually a great gift. I’m thankful! I’ve learned a lot from the path my life has taken. I seize every opportunity to share with other women the experience I’ve had." Read more...
"I have a team of specialists at the Lynne Cohen and Norma Livingston Preventive Care Program for Women's Cancers at UAB caring for me that are the best. I trust them completely. I am grateful to have them in my life. On my part, I am more conscientious about my well-being and taking care of myself the best way that I can." Read more...
Ovarian Cancer Survivor
"In August 2010, I opted to have a full hysterectomy to reduce my risk of developing ovarian cancer. I have not yet decided if or when a mastectomy is right for me. I know that when I am ready to make that decision, I will have the full support of the medical staff at the Lynne Cohen Preventive Care Clinic for Women's Cancers at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center behind me." Read more...
Breast Cancer Survivor
"After testing positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation in 2008, I joined the Lynne Cohen High Risk Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center. This diagnosis has provided me the opportunity to...receive preventive care and testing that I would not have had otherwise. I am truly blessed to be part of this program."
Shelia Cochran Jason
"At age 36, I was diagnosed with the very earliest form of breast cancer, DCIS – Ductal Carcinoma In Situ. A couple of weeks later I found out that I am a carrier of the BRCA1 mutation. After a double mastectomy and immediate reconstruction, I made regular visits to the Lynne Cohen Clinic at USC/Norris to be screened for ovarian cancer. I never slept well the night before, worried about whether this would be the visit when doctors would find something deadly growing in my ovaries. Thanks to the Lynne Cohen Clinic I can once again lift and run around with my boys, without a care, and my psyche is clear, which has been the greatest gift of all." Read more...
Ali Oshinsky, Age 38
Santa Barbara, CA
"My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was two years old. My sister, Monique, was 22 years old at the time of her breast cancer diagnosis. I cannot stress enough the importance of taking a proactive approach to your health, especially to those with a family history of cancer." Read more...
Michelle Shepard, Age 58
New York, NY
"Just two weeks before my 50th birthday, I was at MD Anderson Cancer Center receiving the news that I had breast cancer, Invasive Ductile Carcinoma, locally advanced, Stage 3. I would not have chosen to have cancer, but if my diagnosis, which lead to the identification of my BRCA genetic marker, can help my daughter and my siblings and their children be proactive about their health, then it has been worth it." Read more...
Alys Shorter, Age 51
"Having a mother struggle through ovarian cancer and watching my grandmother die of breast cancer, I decided it was very important to my family and me that I explore my chances of getting either or both of these terrible diseases. And being of Ashkenazi Jewish decent, I knew the likelihood of having a positive BRCA gene mutation was significantly higher. I feel so blessed to have the information I needed to take proactive measures to manage my health and my individual risk. The happy and relieved emotions definitely out-weigh the fear and anxiety." Read more...
Jodi Benck, Age 39