Early Detection Is The Key To Good Health
It is hard to keep one’s perspective. Having to go to a multitude of doctors twice a year; having up to 5 MRIs; and being under general anasthetics at least once every 18 months make the family suffer. As it was explained to me ten years ago, if my body does not have the genetic protection against cancer, I will have constant internal growths of haratomas. 4 cancers later, I still consider myself lucky as I am an innate optimist. I suffer more from not knowing. Constantly getting myself in trouble as I joke with the nurses and people in the waiting rooms, if we have to wait, we are still living. Needless to say it is not a horror story. Early detection is essential.
The PTEN gene is important as it protects the body from cancer. In the Cowden syndrome, our PTEN is mutated. Most problems occur in the breasts, the intestinal tract, the kidneys, the colon, and the uterus. A small percentage suffer from neurological problems as focal epilepsy. The skin of the body is affected but most visual abnormalities can be removed by a dermatologist.
If you should have breast cancer, make sure the doctors perform a genetic study. I would never have known I had a PTEN mutation. At the time we thought it was the BRCA gene which is common in families who came from Central Europe. Remember than cancers which are caught early are treatable. Genetic studies help plan what might be inevitable. There is a 50% chance of transmitting the disease to your children. My children do not have Cowden. It is one of my driving forces.
My current situation as of the end of November is somewhat difficult as I try to verify everything once a year. A small tumor in my kidney is placed in such a position that they can not do a biopsy. As it is monitored, we know it isn’t growing. It doesn’t look benign but it doesn’t look malignant. Kidney cancer is the slowest growing cancer. My uterous has a fibrome which hasn’t bothered me up to now. It is on the check list. The melanoma, which I had removed 4 years ago, will be looked at by the doctor this month. He will not be pleased to know that there is a polyp at the base of my vocal cords. I am also getting checked for my 3rd breast cancer and the possibility of bladder cancer next month. The results will be in next week.
The hassle every 18 months, having to go for a coloscopy and an endoscopy to cut out all the new polyps is all part of it. They are checked for cancer. Avoiding future suffering is motivation. I usually try to wait every 18 months.
The major signs of Cowden:
- extremely large head (macrocephaly)
- haratomas, small visible skin growths
- breast cancer, uterine cancer, or thyroid cancer
I am not a doctor nor do I claim to have any medical knowledge. I have written this article from personal experience. Early detection will make a long and healthy life. The road you have is difficult but it is worth following.