I soooo relate to parts of your story. My maternal aunt died of breast cancer at age 42 after battling the disease for several years. This was back in the seventies, and there was no genetic testing, or even chemo at that point. Then in 1981, my mum was diagnosedwith BC aged 46. My aunt had left my mum a list of symptoms that she'd had for several years before she could get anyone to pay any attention to her. My mum initially really struggled to get her GP to refer her to the breast clinic. Thank goodness she persevered, as she did indeed have breast cancer. In those days, a radical mastectomy was the chosen treatment, and her cancer was so early that she didn't even require rads. My sister and myself were put forward for screening, and we both had three yearly mammograms followed by yearly ones after age 40. I myself was aware of a thickening in my breast around the age of 44. I kept going back to the breast clinic, and they kept telling me there was nothing wrong. Finally, age 50 I went back to my GP and again was referred to the breast clinic. It was then that I was diagnosed with a 37mm lobular cancer. This type of cancer can be difficult to see on mammogram, plus I'd had a fibrous lump removed in my early 40s which had left quite a bit of scar tissue, so again this meant my mammograms were more difficult to read. I had a lumpectomy, followed by chemo and rads and immediately went for BRACA testing which came back negative. My mother had meanwhile met a maternal cousin who told her that another three of my mothers relatives have had/died of BC. I went back to my surgeon, and after consultation, have been put on an elective waiting list for double mastectomy with recon. My surgical team have been fantastic at listening to my fears and feel that it's more than probable that there is a genetic link in my family, just not the BRACA 1 or 2 genes. I feel much happier knowing that at some point, my chances of recurrence will be greatly reduced by having the op.
Sorry for droning on so long! Hope it's of some use to you.
Take care, Ann x x