Sara Dormer’s Story: Breast & Ovarian Cancer Prevention

In 2010, at age 40, Sara Dormer decided to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction and a prophylactic complete hysterectomy. Sara had a history of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers in her family and in 2009 she learned that she was positive for the breast cancer gene mutation.

Although Sara has never had cancer, she has a very high risk for getting it (such people are called previvors). She inherited a gene mutation from her father. It’s one of the three founder mutations associated with people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent (roughly one in every 40 individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry have gene mutations). Prior to her surgeries, she underwent genetic testing at Jupiter Medical Center and learned she had an 86% chance of getting breast cancer in her lifetime and a 48% chance of getting ovarian cancer. She’s proud to report her numbers are significantly lower these days. She reduced her chances for breast cancer down to 4% and has made it so she’ll never get or die from ovarian cancer.

Sara is fierce, conquered her fears and is a strong advocate for genetic testing, which helped her assess her cancer risks and explore possible treatment options. The big take-home message she has for people: if there is a history of breast cancer in your family, see a genetic counselor, have the counselor assess your background and learn if testing is advisable.