Thursday, October 28, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - What is a "Previvor"?

"The term previvor is a relatively new one, and sources so far haven’t determined a consistent spelling of the word. It may alternately be spelled pre-vivor, or an entirely different word that more closely matches its definition, presurvivor, may be used instead. Previvor tends to refer to those people who are predisposed to certain types of cancer. They glean this knowledge either through direct family history or by finding out they have genes that may be potential cancer indicators. The two largest groups that make up most previvors today are those women at high risk for ovarian cancer, or who have the breast cancer gene."
Thanks in part to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (a previvor/survivor herself) and the efforts of FORCE, awareness for previvors is increasing.  This year the week of September 26 - October 2nd was designated National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Week; with Wednesday, September 29th being designated as "Previvor Day".

Being a previvor is something I know a little bit about; I am one. I am happy to see that more awareness efforts are being focused on previvors because early diagnosis is key to survivorship not only with breast and ovarian cancer, but with all cancers.  I feel very strongly that everyone should know their cancer risk, but I know that many fear repercussions from insurance companies, etc.  The efforts such as those being made by FORCE help us all "face our risk" and make educated decisions, with out fear.

See also: What is a "Previvor"? -- msnbc @vodpod
Know your risk!


  1. This is a great term for a very real condition. I am a breast cancer survivor AND a previvor and know 1st hand the importance of not just early detection, but early ACTION! All women and men should have access to testing and treatment for cancer. Early treatment increases the chances of surviving cancer!

  2. Thank you so much for raising awareness for previvors. Previvors are a real community with specific medical needs. Can you add to your links or blogroll? It is the first comprehensive guidebook for those at high risk for breast cancer.

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