Genes, cancer are ties that bind

Genes, cancer are ties that bind

There are 19 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Dec 7, 2007, titled Genes, cancer are ties that bind. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Five months before she died of a rare form of stomach cancer, Sandra McNamara uncovered a devastating family legacy.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

Jessica

Warrenville, IL

#1 Dec 7, 2007
How terrible that this family has to deal with this.
I admire the courage they have to continue to fight and live. Especially those that opted to have their stomachs removed. I cannot even imagine the pain they go through everyday.
My prayers go out to them.
Jenny S

United States

#2 Dec 7, 2007
Reading this story gave me a sense of knowledge that sometimes we try to neglect the reality. It is scary to confront the situation and have to face the reality of testing positive for genetic testing. My family is also under going some testing, when I confronted my primary doctor she said that she would not recommend that I get tested. I want to know if I am the carrier of the Colon cancer gene. Best luck to the family and I hope that the early screening and the stomach surgery helps all woman that tested positive for the mutation.
Chris L

Mason, MI

#3 Dec 7, 2007
I have had a total gastrectomy also sue to stomach cancer. Actually had a partial removal back in 92 due to cancer along with chemo qnd radation. Then when it returned in 97 had a total gastrectomy. Now I get screened for breast and colon CA. My brother dies at 36 due to stomach cncer and my sister had a total gastrectomy propholacticly in 95.
We have as yet not determined a genetic link but its there. The diet and activities get easier so to the family in this article...Hang in there. I really don't have limitations now but still have some yuck episodes.
Maria

United States

#4 Dec 7, 2007
Jenny S wrote:
Reading this story gave me a sense of knowledge that sometimes we try to neglect the reality. It is scary to confront the situation and have to face the reality of testing positive for genetic testing. My family is also under going some testing, when I confronted my primary doctor she said that she would not recommend that I get tested. I want to know if I am the carrier of the Colon cancer gene. Best luck to the family and I hope that the early screening and the stomach surgery helps all woman that tested positive for the mutation.
I want to wish you peace in whatever decision you make. I happen to believe in not always believing that your doctor is right. If the test ultimately puts your mind at ease that I wish you luck and comfort. Ultimately, as I tell myself often, when I make a decision I have to OWN that decision. It has to be my idea since I have to live with it. I wish you strength.
Still Alive

Palm Beach Gardens, FL

#5 Dec 7, 2007
I am a melanoma cancer survivor. I had 2 external cancers and it spread into my lymph system. I had surgery in 4 locations in the early 80s, and it is considered incurable. I changed to the healthiest lifestyle I could, controlled my emotions and kept a positive attitude, and took cancer fighting selenium and betacarotene (available everywhere and has no side effects).

Now people are supprised to know I am 49, because I am energetic and youthful. I am healthy, take no prescriptions and have no diseases.

I just wanted to tell you all that you don't have to die.
cubsfan14

Cincinnati, OH

#6 Dec 7, 2007
Still Alive wrote:
I am a melanoma cancer survivor. I had 2 external cancers and it spread into my lymph system. I had surgery in 4 locations in the early 80s, and it is considered incurable. I changed to the healthiest lifestyle I could, controlled my emotions and kept a positive attitude, and took cancer fighting selenium and betacarotene (available everywhere and has no side effects).
Now people are supprised to know I am 49, because I am energetic and youthful. I am healthy, take no prescriptions and have no diseases.
I just wanted to tell you all that you don't have to die.
God bless you! What a wonderful story and truly inspiring!
SIR LANCELOT

AOL

#7 Dec 7, 2007
Still Alive wrote:
I am a melanoma cancer survivor. I had 2 external cancers and it spread into my lymph system. I had surgery in 4 locations in the early 80s, and it is considered incurable. I changed to the healthiest lifestyle I could, controlled my emotions and kept a positive attitude, and took cancer fighting selenium and betacarotene (available everywhere and has no side effects).
Now people are supprised to know I am 49, because I am energetic and youthful. I am healthy, take no prescriptions and have no diseases.
I just wanted to tell you all that you don't have to die.
GOOD FOR YOU !KEEP IT UP ,YOU ARE A WONDERFUL INSPIRATION TO US ALL !
Linda

AOL

#8 Dec 7, 2007
Wow, You sometimes think your life is bad, but when your ealize what some people go through every day, wondering if they and their childen will survive a deadly disease like this, you really have to step back and appreciate and live your life to the fullest. My prayers are with this family, hopefully the remaining group will all stay healthy.
Aimee Mury

Washington, DC

#9 Dec 7, 2007
Hi, this is me the skinny bird walking through the "woods" in the picture of the article. Believe me, I liked my old body better (but not w/ cancer)! I just want to comment first how great the Tribune was to work with and do this article. It was a delight to get to know the reporter and photo editor and I was so impressed with all the time and energy and professionalism they put into such an important topic. Not just our family's genetic mutation--but helping people start to think about genetic counseling if it seems appropriate for your family (with several untimely diseases & deaths, etc.). I had no idea 2 years ago a mutation was found (in '98) for a form of stomach cancer that happened to be the one in our family! Thank you for taking the time to read the article and for so many kind comments. Overall, as time keeps going on, it gets easier to live without a stomach. I miss chugging a coca-cola (can't anymore due to the fizz and too much sugar at once) and I get cold easily, but hey, I know some people have it much worse. Thanks again Tribune--kudos to you and to Scott Weisman--the very brilliant genetic counselor who put 2 and 2 together for our family. And in memory of Aunt Sandra who helped find this mutation for us. It stinks it often has to take several deaths before this is realized in a family, like losing my mom. So this holiday, I hope each of you can enjoy life and count your blessings.

“BasicGenetics”

Since: Dec 07

Seattle

#10 Dec 7, 2007
genetic mutation is truley horrible, but it is a part of life, eventually we will be able too alter this too an extent where it will be a daily procedure, until then the bodys natural proof reading ability will have too do.
Ted

Kapolei, HI

#11 Dec 7, 2007
Genetic testing may lead to some people removing their brains!
Linda Green

United States

#12 Dec 8, 2007
Linda wrote:
Wow, You sometimes think your life is bad, but when your ealize what some people go through every day, wondering if they and their childen will survive a deadly disease like this, you really have to step back and appreciate and live your life to the fullest. My prayers are with this family, hopefully the remaining group will all stay healthy.

Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers for our family as we continue to search for better diagnostic tools for this cancer so that stomachs will not have to be removed.
And continue to appreciate life! I know I do because for some strange reason I am able to survive with this mutation, so far anyway.
Oh Please

Fort Lauderdale, FL

#13 Dec 8, 2007
My prayers for the family. I'm insprired by your bravery. Hopefully some day science can fix this gene.
Maria

United States

#14 Dec 8, 2007
Still Alive wrote:
I am a melanoma cancer survivor. I had 2 external cancers and it spread into my lymph system. I had surgery in 4 locations in the early 80s, and it is considered incurable. I changed to the healthiest lifestyle I could, controlled my emotions and kept a positive attitude, and took cancer fighting selenium and betacarotene (available everywhere and has no side effects).
Now people are supprised to know I am 49, because I am energetic and youthful. I am healthy, take no prescriptions and have no diseases.
I just wanted to tell you all that you don't have to die.
ROCK ON!!!!
Coral Springs Resident

Pompano Beach, FL

#15 Dec 9, 2007
Thank you so much to the reporter who wrote this piece, the newspaper for publishing it and for the family who unselfishly shared their personal stories. How lucky we are to live in the 21st century when this testing is possible. Any of us who have been touched by the cancer of our family members or friends can tell you that "a cure for cancer" is often high up in our prayer list. I see this as a beginning. This family's courage is an inspiration to us all. Have a wonderful, happy and healthy holiday season
Sidney

Hobe Sound, FL

#16 Dec 9, 2007
Still Alive wrote:
I am a melanoma cancer survivor.... I am healthy, take no prescriptions and have no diseases.
I just wanted to tell you all that you don't have to die.
I think your point that many are missing here is that these people probably didn't need to have their stomachs preventatively removed. You are living proof that someone "genetically predisposed" to incurable melanoma does not have to die from it, if they are willing to change to a healthy lifestyle.

For instance, in my family there are deaths from heart disease and cancer, so I made the choice like you to get proper nutrition and exercise regularly to avoid my "genetically predisposed fate". I would have had to have my heart, brain, and skin preventatively removed to avoid getting what they had.
justme

Hollywood, FL

#17 Dec 10, 2007
My college roommate died of an embolism in her leg at 26. Her entire family was tested as it was a genetic issue. Her sister's life was saved due to it.

How wonderful that we are learning more about the human body to avoid needless loss of life. Please everyone - support medical research - especially by our government. A certain administration only listens to the science they want to... That's all I'll say.

Thanks to this family for sharing their story with us. It was touching and inspiring. Good luck to you all.
Doris Cooke

Gurnee, IL

#18 Dec 11, 2007
I had stomach cancer 35 years ago. had my stomach and spleen removed. A pouch was made from my intestines and attached to my esophagus inside. I have had several bouts with lymphoma since then but not connected to stomach cancer. I lead a normal life (I'm 83). eat most everything - lots of ice cream and other fattening things in an effort to retain my weight. live a normal life - eat in restaurants and sometimes forget I have no stomach until I overeat and then I suffer - but not for long. good luck to all of you.
Carolyn M

Höst, Germany

#19 Feb 1, 2012
My family is also under going some testing, when I confronted my primary doctor she said that she would not recommend that I get tested. I want to know if I am the carrier of the Colon cancer gene.

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