So most of you know the story of going to take care of my aunt with cancer. But one of the details I haven't talked about, mostly because it is so peripheral to the 'what needs to be done now' domain, is one of the details of her illness.
They suspect, based on family history, which I didn't fully understand until now, that she had something called Lynch Syndrome.
What it is
A genetic disorder, in short. Cells reproduce themselves, yes? Well we have a protective cell function whereby they RECOGNIZE if the cell they reproduce isn't LIKE them and destroys them... mutant destroyers. In Lynch Syndrome there is a failure of cells to murder those unlike themselves... which sounds all nice and all, but SOME... in fact possibly MOST of those mutant cells are cancer cells. I don't mean that in a judgmental, mean way... it's just how it is. Cells like to breed others that are like themselves and in the case of cells, that is probably for the best.
One in five people is destined for colon cancer. Did you know? Among people with Lynch Syndrom, 60%. That is triple the chance. Lynch Syndrome is most commonly associated with colon and reproductive cancers for whatever reason, though there is a slightly elevated chance of other cancers as well.
At least three people in two successive generations, one of them first degree, with cancer.
See... the PROBLEM... as an only child I have no SIBLINGS to the first degree... and my PARENT on this side died at 31 of a car crash... well before the age he was likely to have gotten cancer. The age is early—50s, they say, but not THAT early. So I will never meet the technical qualification, even if in reality, I may very well be in line.
I COULD just get the genetic test done, but here's the rub... I not only have to pay up front for the test. I then have to pay higher premiums for having a pre-existing condition... financially, it is not better to know.
But See, That's Not So Bad.
Why? Because all testing positive does is earn me the nudge to get screened more often. It ISN'T so often my insurance won't allow it (especially once my doctor documents possible risk). So while a portion of me hates not knowing, I am just going to act like I have the gene... (lack the gene? Am a mutant? Whatever it is... am genetically pre-disposed).