Updated: Dec 9, 2019
Friday the 20th September 2019 is Bright Pink Lipstick Day, which is an initiative of Pink Hope and aims to spread awareness and get women and their families to commit to a life-saving conversation about their breast and ovarian cancer risk. Our director Natalie was diagnosed with the BRCA1 gene mutation at the age of 19, which makes this cause something very close to home! Origin Physiotherapy & Wellness will therefore be hosting a bake sale to raise funds to help enable Pink Hope to invest in critical life-saving programs and support services. Come in and visit us, have something yummy to eat and leave a gold coin donation. By donating to Pink Hope, you will be supporting their life-saving mission of providing all Australians with the tools and resources to know their risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.
Breast cancer has been something that I have grown up knowing about. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 and my grandmother at age 50. These two strong women are both breast cancer survivors.
When I was 19 years old, my mother underwent genetic testing, which revealed she had the BRCA1 gene mutation, a gene associated with an increased risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancer. I was also offered the same testing. To me, it was a no brainer - if I know, then I can do something about it right?
My test came back positive for BRCA1. At the time, it was neither here nor there for me. The geneticists discussed my options but told me that my risk wouldn’t increase till after age 30, which is when preventative screening would start. I was fine with the whole process, until that first MRI just after I had my daughter. It scared me and suddenly made everything real. My estimated lifetime risk was between 55-80% and I had to start thinking about the prophylactic treatments that I may have to undergo including preventative mastectomies, reconstructions and later in life, a hysterectomy. It was all so overwhelming. At the same time I knew that for me, it was a blessing to know so that I could do something about it. Having such a supportive family, my mother and husband especially, wonderful health professionals and a community of warriors through Pink Hope, has made the journey so much easier.
Although it has been hard coming to terms with what I will have to face in the future, I am so grateful that I have the knowledge and have been given the opportunity to make choices I may not have been able to make had I not been tested.
This is why I thought that I would give you some background as to why we have chosen to celebrate Bright Pink Lipstick Day and raise funds for breast and ovarian cancer awareness by sharing my story. It is not something many of you will know about me, nor is it something I choose to talk about very often however, spreading awareness is extremely important in the fight against these diseases and sometimes knowing that you aren’t going through things alone makes all the difference. Pink Hope and the wonderful support networks behind it are invaluable to people like myself and I am so thankful for all the great work that they do.
Natalie D’Rozario, Director, Origin Physiotherapy & Wellness
If you think that you may be at an increased risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer, talk to your GP about being referred to a genetic counsellor, who can help you make an informed decision when it comes to genetic testing.
Know Your Risk is a simple questionnaire to help you assess your personal risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. https://pinkhope.org.au/know-your-risk/