NJ mother writes book about importance of knowing family’s medical history

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A New Jersey mother has written a book about the importance of knowing your family’s medical history after she found out that she carried the gene that made her susceptible to certain types of cancer.

Millstone resident Shannon Pulaski says that her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer seven years ago then she found out that she was also at high risk.

Pulaski tested positive for the breast cancer susceptibility gene (BRCA1), which increases a woman’s chance to developing breast and ovarian cancers. She say that she wanted to decrease those chances by undergoing preventative surgery.

“I just needed to do what I had to do so that I can be here as long as possible for my kids,” she says.

The mother of three has now written a children’s book titled “Mom’s Genes,” which she says she hopes inspires kids and their parents to learn about and discuss their family’s health history.

“And once they do that, they’ll have a better picture, a better understanding of what’s going on. Where they’ll be able to assess their own risk and talk to doctors and really give them a full picture,” she says.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicked off Monday. Pulaski says that she hopes all women are inspired to do whatever they need to do to stay healthy for their families.

“I'm so lucky to have that knowledge because it's empowered me to make huge decisions, to lower my risk and be proactive,” she says.

According to the National Cancer Institute About 12 percent of women in the general population will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives. But about 72 percent of women who inherit the BRCA-1 mutation will develop the disease by the age of 80.

More information about Pulaski’s book can be found at her website.

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