What follows is a guest blog by Teri Smieja, the original BRCA blogger extraordinaire. I just ordered a copy of her book, and I can’t wait to read it. Congrats to Teri on the success of this important book:
My name is Teri Smieja. I’m a BRCA1 Previvor, BRCA blogger, co-creator of the largest, active BRCA support group on Facebook and the co-author for an epic new book in the BRCA / HBOC realm. Our book, Letters to Doctors: Patients Educating Medical Professionals through Practical True-Life Experiences: The BRCA and Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome Edition.
Letters to Doctors went ‘live’ on amazon.com on October 18th and hit #1 in two genres within the genetics and new medical books categories on the same day it was released. Two weeks later, we are maintaining the #1 spot in genetics and hope to do so for many months to come.
Letters to Doctors is unlike any other BRCA book on the market in that the main target is the health care professional. Letters to Doctors has much inside of it to help the patient learn how to better advocate for themselves too, but our main focus is the medical professionals. We plan to change the way things are being done, so that people will no longer needlessly die from breast and ovarian cancer. With the advent of genetic testing, more and more BRCA positive people such as myself are making pre-emptive strikes against cancer. Unfortunately there is much misinformation among those in the medical community and it is our goal to create a paradigm shift in the way doctors treat their high-risk patients.
My co-author, Dr. Jonathan Herman (a practicing ob/gyn in NY) and myself are making no money from this book, as all profits after production costs are going straight to BRCA / HBOC related charities. We are hoping that everyone will purchase two copies; one to keep and one to give to their doctor.
Those in the high-cancer-risk world are erroneously being told by their doctors too often that:
- You are too young to worry about this.
- You are too old to worry about this.
- You can’t get this mutation from your father’s side of the family.
- Your insurance won’t pay for genetic testing.
Doctors are missing giant red flags in their patient’s intake questionnaires, such as:
- Family history of ovarian cancer (ovarian cancer is always a red flag).
- Family history of male breast cancer.
- Family history of breast, ovarian, colon, pancreatic, melanoma, and other BRCA related cancers.
The dots are just not being connected. Many patients rely on their doctors to be the most informed, but in the BRCA / HBOC world this is just not always the case, and people are DYING because of it.
Dr. Herman and myself believe that our doctors want to do right by us, but are basing their practice on outdated information and often times think that their patients are not emotionally strong enough to handle the implications that can come of BRCA testing. We feel that it is not our doctor’s place to judge whether or not their patients can handle this knowledge. It is not their place to tell us that genetic testing is too expensive (last time I checked, funerals were pretty pricey as well!), and we fill out stacks of paperwork prior to our doctors appointments with the expectation that it will be read, and understood properly.
It is our intention with Letters to Doctors, to help our medical staff understand better, how to do their jobs, and to truly see how important their words are to their patients.
We truly wish to save lives with this book, and know that we can do it. We just need your help in getting the word out there about Letters to Doctors, and our mission.
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planed for you? Not much.”
― Jim Rohn