ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Anchorage resident Audrey Miller loves being active. She said she's always on a mountain peak, skiing, running and enjoying her life more than ever. She also said she feels free from a fear that she lived in for more than a decade.
Audrey Miller used genetic testing to help make a choice to reduce her risk of getting the same aggressive breast cancer and mutation as her mom.
"It ran my life," she said during our interview at Cuddy Family Park.
At 16-years old, her mom was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
"It was really hard watching my mom fight for her life and she survived. The treatments almost killed her, but it was a really painful and traumatizing 2 years," she said.
Audrey's chances of having the same mutation as her mom was 50%. So, her options were to continue getting screened or pursue genetic testing.
"I wasn't just willing to wait any longer."
Maggie Millier is a Certified Genetic Counselor. Her job is to help women like Audrey navigate the process of testing for the positive gene. In her case, a saliva test revealed she did in fact carry the same mutation as her mom, which in turn allowed Audrey to make a choice. Genetic testing can also be done with a blood test.
"I could have a preventative bilateral double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction which took my risks down from 1 to 5 percent," said Audrey.
"Sporadic breast cancer risk is 13 percent for the average woman, BRCA 1 risk is 70 plus percent, big difference," added Miller.
Audrey chose to have the surgery and said genetic testing was an avenue for freedom and peace. She's a mom of two small kids and said she feels stronger than ever.
"It's a very brave thing to face that you could carry a high-risk gene and get tested, but I also think it's a story of a lot of hope," added Miller.
Audrey hopes a little piece of her journey can help someone else along the way.
"It freed me up of that fear, it freed me up of a lot of just worrying about what the future would hold," she said.
As with any medical procedure and to know if it's right for you, always check with your doctor first.
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