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by Rachel Corlett   |   June 21, 2019

Gene Mutations Don’t Discriminate Between Men and Women

Recently we shared a story about Ed Hoppe and his prostate cancer. After Ed’s diagnosis, he received genetic testing and learned about a mutation in his BRCA1 gene, classifying his cancer as hereditary. Ed’s daughter Ellen decided to take the myRisk Hereditary Cancer test and discovered she had inherited the BRCA1 mutation from her father.

“Cancer has always kind of been in the family somewhere,” said Ed’s youngest daughter, Ellen Hoppe.

“We found out that my Aunt Peggy, who lived in Memphis, had been diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer.” Stated Ellen. “When I was in eighth grade my Aunt Peggy passed away.”

Ellen talks about her Aunt Beanie who also had ovarian cancer, which is when she realized that there was some kind of family connection. Ellen’s two daughters were her motivation to get tested to understand if she was at an increased risk of developing cancer within her lifetime.

“I think I heard in high school that there was a test that could tell you if you had this genetic mutation that makes you more likely to have breast or ovarian cancer.”

Ellen’s two aunts that had ovarian cancer are her father Ed’s sisters. Ellen didn’t think that she could get the gene mutation from her dad because it was usually associated with breast and ovarian cancer. She went to her doctor, gave her the family history, and got tested for the mutation. Her results came back positive for a mutation in BRCA1. Ellen’s doctor informed her that the gene mutation can manifest in men.

“Gene mutations don’t not discriminate between men and women, if it’s there it’s there.”

“It has been a relief to know that this is what’s going on. Knowing that I am doing what I can, it makes me feel more confident and more secure that I am not leaving things up to chance.” – Ellen Hoppe.

To find out about hereditary cancer risk for you and your family, take the Hereditary Cancer Quiz.