In June of 2010, we lost my sister-in-law to stomach cancer. She was only 43. Combined with the fact that my husband’s grandmother also died at 38 from stomach cancer, we knew there was a genetic connection. In the fall of 2011, we learned that my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and husband inherited the CDH1 gene mutation. They all had total gastrectomies in March of 2012. They were all diagnosed with stomach cancer.

In June of 2012, we learned the heartbreaking news that my 19 year old daughter inherited the CDH1 gene mutation. She withdrew from her junior year at Virginia Tech. During a routine endoscopy, we discovered that she had stomach cancer. She had her gastrectomy on November 8, 2012.

These past few years have been a whirlwind of emotions, fears, tears, and blessings. Through it all, No Stomach For Cancer has been our primary source of knowledge and support. Stomach cancer caused by the CDH1 gene mutation (Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer, or HDGC) is not very common. Most people, including some of our own physicians, have never heard of it. Having a prophylactic gastrectomy is such an extreme procedure and making that lifesaving decision to do so is heart wrenching. It is even more difficult when your friends and loved ones do not know or understand the disease. During the past two years, we have connected with other families affected by HDGC through No Stomach For Cancer. The love and support we found was priceless.

I am honored and thrilled to join No Stomach For Cancer in the war against stomach cancer. I hope my view as a primary caregiver, wife and mother of stomach cancer survivors brings a fresh outlook for those family members affected by this cruel disease. I look forward to connecting and working with other individuals who share my passion for advocating, spreading awareness and finding a cure for this disease.

~ Jane MacKenzie

 

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