She triumphed over breast cancer 12 years ago, but Ivis Febus-Sampayo stared it in the face again this January when a genetics test revealed she carried a specific gene mutation, which put her chances of developing a cancerous lump in her breast at a roughly estimated, and frightening, 45 percent. A 50-year-old wife and mother of two boys, Febus-Sampayo took aggressive action against the deadly disease. She went under the knife and preemptively had her ovaries removed, narrowing the likelihood of a malignant growth in her breast. With early detection of tumors directly linked to cancer survival rates, Febus-Sampayo has regular mammograms and oncologist visits. Additionally, she has an annual breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), recommended only for high-risk patients. While MRIs have been shown to find tumors when they are smaller and easier to treat, misreading the findings can result in false alarms and numerous painful biopsies.
Credit the field of genetics with giving Febus-Sampayo the heads-up about her genetic risks.