In December 2022, my mother was diagnosed with retroperitoneal leiomyosarcoma after experiencing severe abdominal pain. This led to the discovery of a hereditary cancer syndrome in our family. My cousin had been diagnosed with the syndrome in 2018, thought to be inherited from her mother’s side. However, it was a shock to find out my uncle also carried the syndrome, affecting me, my brothers, and my eldest son.

Tragically, my cousin passed away last October from a brain tumor worsened during pregnancy, leaving behind a young daughter. Following our diagnoses, we began regular screenings and adhered to the Toronto protocol. My mother’s condition has improved post-surgery, though she lost a kidney.

Though initially shocked by my diagnosis, I now see it as an opportunity for early detection, unlike my cousin. Her passing underscores the importance of proactive health measures. Prioritize regular screenings to protect yourself and your loved ones from hereditary cancer syndromes.