WhatsNew2Day
Latest News And Breaking Headlines

Twin sisters, 32, diagnosed with breast cancer only three months apart

Ashley Huffman was shocked in November 2018 when she discovered she had cancer in her left breast at the age of 32.

She decided shortly after to undergo genetic testing and heard that she had a mutation that gave her a 70 percent risk of developing the disease.

Doctors advised her twin sister, Danielle Jones, to undergo the same tests. It turned out she had the same mutation.

In February 2019, Jones decided to have a mammogram in February 2019 to ensure that she was healthy – only to learn that she also has breast cancer.

Although they had to undergo both aggressive treatments and operations, the sisters from Michigan told DailyMail.com that they are grateful to have each other to lean on.

Twin sisters Danielle Jones (left) and Ashley Huffman (right), 32, were diagnosed with breast cancer only three months in succession. Pictured: Jones in the hospital after her double breast amputation

Twin sisters Danielle Jones (left) and Ashley Huffman (right), 32, were diagnosed with breast cancer only three months in succession. Pictured: Jones in the hospital after her double breast amputation

Huffman, who lives in Paw Paw, was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2018. On the photo: Huffman, left and Jones

Huffman, who lives in Paw Paw, was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2018. On the photo: Huffman, left and Jones

She tested positive for a genetic mutation for the BRCA2 gene, which gave her a 70 percent risk of developing the disease. Pictured: Jones, right and Huffman

She tested positive for a genetic mutation for the BRCA2 gene, which gave her a 70 percent risk of developing the disease. Pictured: Jones, right and Huffman

Huffman, who lives in Paw Paw, was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2018. She tested positive for a genetic mutation for the BRCA2 gene, which gave her a 70 percent risk of developing the disease. Pictured, left and right: Huffman and Jones

The sisters may look the same, but they are not sure whether they are identical or fraternal.

“The placenta was only one [doctors don’t] know if it melted together or really one and we never did the test, “Huffman told DailyMail.com. “My mother thinks we can be fraternal.

Identical twins form from one zygote, which splits and forms two embryos that share a placenta but have separate fruit pockets.

Fraternal twins develop from individual eggs that are fertilized by individual sperm. They have their own placenta and own fruit bag.

Anyway, the similarity in the cases of the sisters is striking, even for medical professionals.

Huffman, from Paw Paw, said she had experienced pain in her left breast for several months last year, but assumed it was just a clogged milk canal from breastfeeding her son.

She went to her OBGYN for her annual exam, who thought she felt a lump and advised Huffman to check out.

Only three weeks later she discovered she had breast cancer.

“I was terrified, I was scared,” Huffman told DailyMail.com. “I didn’t want my son to grow up without my mother.”

Because Huffman’s diagnosis came at such a young age, she was referred to a genetic center to test whether it was the cause of her breast cancer.

After Huffman was positive for the BRCA2 gene, doctors from Kalamazoo also advised Jones to get tested - and she also came back positive. Pictured: Huffman, left, with her husband Jon and son Liam

After Huffman was positive for the BRCA2 gene, doctors from Kalamazoo also advised Jones to get tested - and she also came back positive. Pictured: Huffman, left, with her husband Jon and son Liam

After Huffman was positive for the BRCA2 gene, doctors from Kalamazoo also advised Jones to get tested – and she also came back positive. Pictured: Huffman, left, with her husband Jon and son Liam

Jones underwent a mammogram in February 2019 to ensure that she was healthy, only to learn that she also has breast cancer. Pictured: Jones, on the right, with her husband Jason and their two sons, aged five and 19 months

Jones underwent a mammogram in February 2019 to ensure that she was healthy, only to learn that she also has breast cancer. Pictured: Jones, on the right, with her husband Jason and their two sons, aged five and 19 months

Jones underwent a mammogram in February 2019 to ensure that she was healthy, only to learn that she also has breast cancer. Pictured: Jones, on the right, with her husband Jason and their two sons, aged five and 19 months

After all, the sisters’ family had a history of cancer. Their mother was a melanoma survivor and their paternal grandfather died after his breast cancer had spread.

According to the Breastcancer.org, between five and ten percent of all breast cancer is considered to be hereditary and is passed on from generation to generation.

HOW DOES THE BRCA-GENE AFFECT THE RISK OF BREAST CANCER?

Having a mutated BRCA gene – famously carried by Angelina Jolie – dramatically increases the chance that a woman will develop breast cancer in her life.

In fact, it jumps from 12 percent to 70 percent.

Between one in 800 and one in 1,000 women carry a BRCA gene mutation, which increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Both BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that produce proteins to suppress tumors. When these are mutated, DNA damage can be caused and cells are more likely to become cancerous.

The mutations are usually inherited and significantly increase the risk of ovarian and breast cancer.

When a child has a parent who has a mutation in one of these genes, they have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the mutations.

About 45 percent of women with the BRCA1 mutation and about 20 percent of women with the BRCA2 mutation will develop ovarian cancer at the age of 80.

Source: Breastcancer.org

Most hereditary breast cancers are due to mutations in two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Everyone has these genes, which repair cell damage and inhibit abnormal cell growth.

The average American woman has a 12 percent chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in her life, says Breastcancer.org.

However, women with one or both BRCA mutations have at least a 70 percent risk of developing breast cancer.

After Huffman was positive for the BRCA2 gene, doctors from Kalamazoo also advised Jones to get tested – and she had it too.

In January Huffman underwent a double breast amputation, whereby both breasts are again removed.

“It was a decision I made right away because it reduced my risk of recurrence by 60 percent and I didn’t want to go through it again,” she said.

However, she admitted that it was a struggle to introduce herself without both breasts.

“I think it was self-esteem,” she said. “You think your husband won’t look at you in the same way – what he didn’t do, he was fantastic – but it’s an internal struggle that I struggled with.”

Because Huffman’s cancer is invasive in nature, she is currently in her third week of a 20-week chemotherapy regimen and then has 25 rounds of radiation therapy.

Jones told DailyMail.com that she got a mammogram early February where doctors found three suspicious spots.

Because of Huffman’s diagnosis, her doctor wanted to do a biopsy in case. Two weeks later she found out she also had breast cancer.

“First I remember calling my sister and I told her,” You must have fooled me, I think they found it in me too “and she said,” You’re kidding, “said Jones.

“I thought it was impossible for the lightning to strike twice.”

However, unlike the cancer of her twins, Jones was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma on the spot, which is at a very early stage and limited to the milk ducts.

Despite the early stage of her cancer, Jones also decided to undergo a double breast amputation, but she does not need chemotherapy or radiation.

Because Huffman's cancer is invasive in nature, she is currently in her third week of a 20-week chemotherapy regimen and then has 25 rounds of radiation therapy. Pictured: Huffman with her son

Because Huffman's cancer is invasive in nature, she is currently in her third week of a 20-week chemotherapy regimen and then has 25 rounds of radiation therapy. Pictured: Huffman with her son

Because Huffman’s cancer is invasive in nature, she is currently in her third week of a 20-week chemotherapy regimen and then has 25 rounds of radiation therapy. Pictured: Huffman with her son

Jones also decided to undergo a double breast amputation, but she does not need chemotherapy or radiation. Pictured: Jones with her husband two sons

Jones also decided to undergo a double breast amputation, but she does not need chemotherapy or radiation. Pictured: Jones with her husband two sons

Jones also decided to undergo a double breast amputation, but she does not need chemotherapy or radiation. Pictured: Jones with her husband two sons

Because of the higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, both sisters have decided to have their ovaries removed in the future. Pictured: Jones, left and Huffman

Because of the higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, both sisters have decided to have their ovaries removed in the future. Pictured: Jones, left and Huffman

They say the strange silver lining is that Jones Huffman had to go while they fought the disease together. Pictured: Huffman and Jones as children

They say the strange silver lining is that Jones Huffman had to go while they fought the disease together. Pictured: Huffman and Jones as children

Because of the higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, both sisters have decided to have their ovaries removed in the future. They say the strange silver lining is that Jones Huffman had to go while they fought the disease together. Pictured: Huffman and Jones today, left, and as children, right

About 45 percent of women with the BRCA1 mutation and about 20 percent of women with the BRCA2 mutation will develop ovarian cancer at the age of 80.

Because of this higher risk, both sisters have decided to have their ovaries removed in the future.

For Jones, she said the decision was simpler. She and her husband, Jason, had been through infertility for five years before having their five-year-old son and a 19-month-old son.

“My husband is eight years older and my youngest was born with hearing loss, so we wanted to put our time and energy into what we have,” she said.

However, Huffman struggled with the decision because she and her husband Jon wanted at least one or two more children.

“The decision was made for me before I was ready to make the decision,” she said.

“Once we discovered the BRCA2 gene, there was a blame because there is a chance of 50/50 that my son has it. I also have endometriosis, so there are other health issues, so this was the best decision for my family. “

In the midst of all this, the sisters say the strange silver lining is that Jones Huffman had to go while fighting the disease together.

“The last thing you wanted to see is your best friend who is fighting this, but I was also grateful that she had let me endure this whole thing,” Huffman said.

Jones said she felt she could ask her sister questions at any time of the day.

“You can use Google stuff all day long, but in the end it’s not a doctor and it’s not your sister,” she said.

“She had already experienced it, so I could ask her if this is normal or that is normal and she had the answers, which gave me peace of mind.”

.

Comments
Loading...