What’s a precedent?

Print anything with Printful

Previvors are individuals with a genetic predisposition to certain types of cancer, often discovered through family history or genetic testing. They may choose preventative surgeries, such as mastectomies or oophorectomies, and seek support from groups like Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE). The medical community is increasingly focused on preventatives, including the HPV vaccine.

The term previvor is relatively new, and sources have thus far not determined a consistent spelling of the word. It may alternatively be written pre-vivor, or an entirely different word may be used that more closely matches its definition, pre-survivor. Previvor tends to refer to those people who are predisposed to certain types of cancer. They glean this knowledge through direct family history or by discovering that they have genes that could be potential indicators of cancer. The two largest groups that make up the majority of previvors today are those women at high risk for ovarian cancer, or who have the breast cancer gene.

The knowledge that you are much more likely to get cancer, especially life-threatening forms, can be a hard thing to bear. This has led to the creation of many previvor support groups, where people lend each other support and can discuss the variety of options available to previvors.

For some, particularly those women with a significant family history of ovarian cancer, and even some women with breast cancer, the decision a preventative needs to make may center around removing tissue that could develop cancerous lesions. Some prescribers choose to have radical mastectomies, oophorectomies (removal of the ovaries), or radical hysterectomies (removal of the uterus and ovaries) to avoid developing cancers that may have claimed the lives of family members. This is a challenging thing to consider. Removal of the ovaries, for example, can kick-start menopause early, and a hysterectomy or oophorectomy tends to mean women can’t have children. Some women, who are ovarian cancer survivors in particular, choose to have a child early so that they can have an oophorectomy later.

A precedent making this decision generally needs support. These surgeries are difficult and create many physical and emotional problems afterwards. Groups such as Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) and other local support groups can often prove to be of great benefit to cancer prevention. As we learn more about the causes of cancer, the number of survivors increases. They’re actually already out there, but medically, we’re not always sure who they are.

Certain cancers caused by viruses, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be responsible for many cases of cervical cancer, have created a whole new group of preventatives. An HPV vaccine is now available that is said to prevent some forms of HPV that could cause cervical cancer. The more the medical community is able to focus on preventatives, the more likely they are to identify treatments that will permanently delay or prevent cancer.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content