Are There Holes In My Genes?

Published: Dec 05, 2007

This year has been tough for my family. First, my uncle was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an incurable inflammatory disease. Then my sister needed surgery to remove precancerous tissue from her cervix. The hardest blow came this summer, when my cousin--just 28, and always healthier than anyone else in the family--was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. Living on the other side of the world--she's in Australia; I'm in California-- I racked my brains for something, anything, that I could do. I shaved my head and donated the hair to help make a wig. I gave money for cancer research. I pestered friends to donate too. But amid the altruism, there was fear. My cousin's cancer wasn't just about her--it was a little bit about me. I couldn't help wondering: Was I at risk too?

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