BENEFITING: No Stomach For Cancer
EVENT DATE: Nov 07, 2015
Christine Williams wrote -
My grandfather, Ed, died of stomach cancer in 1999 - the same year that the CDH1 gene, which causes Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer, was discovered. Then, in 2008 my dad, Lyn, was diagnosed as having the same type of stomach cancer as my grandfather. We asked then "Could this be genetic?" and were assured "Gastric cancer isn't hereditary." Little did we know. We lost my dad on May 9, 2009 - just three days before our youngest, Maddie, was born. I had trouble accepting the doctor's assurances that gastric cancer wasn't hereditary & that I had nothing to worry about, so I kept pushing. Despite repeated assurances, I eventually learned about the new research that was showing that gastric cancer is indeed hereditary. In March 2015 I learned that we are one of an estimated 200 families worldwide who are passing the CDH1 gene and that I'd inherited the gene. That gave me an 80-90% chance of developing a rare and difficult to detect type of stomach cancer. I made the decision to go to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York to have a prophylactic total gastrectomy, which meant they removed my entire stomach in an effort to save me from the same fate as my dad and my grandfather. I had my surgery on June 27, 2015 and learned afterwards that the pathology report showed I already had four microscopic areas of cancer in my stomach! Through my unwillingness to accept the doctor's assurances that I had nothing to worry about & my persistence, as well as the capable hands of the doctors & nurses at MSKCC, I'm now able to say I'm healthy & again have an opportunity to live a long & happy life. But now my focus has to turn to our two girls, each of whom has a 50% chance of having inherited this gene. Help me raise awareness of stomach cancer - particularly that it can be hereditary - and raise funds to support research so that maybe my kids can beat this disease too!