These twins share almost everything — except a common gene mutation.
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Cigna 2017

The first thing you notice when you see twin sisters Carrie and Erica together are their smiles.

They’re big and welcoming, crinkling the corners of their eyes in exactly the same way.

Yet there's one big difference between Carrie and Erica. Carrie has the BRCA gene mutation. Erica doesn’t.


If you don’t know — don't feel bad because lots of people don't — a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene is one of the most common indicators that a person will get breast or ovarian cancer in their lifetime.

Watch Carrie and Erica's inspiring story below:

Her twin sister wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the preventive steps she took.

Posted by Upworthy on Thursday, June 29, 2017

"We have had a substantial family history of breast and ovarian cancers," Carrie says.  And when the sisters found out that their mom had the BRCA gene, they both decided to get tested for it too.

"I was positive and she was negative," says Carrie.

For Erica, relief at her diagnosis was short-lived. "I was also sad and nervous and upset that the two women closest to me, my mom and my sister, both had it."

Rather than worry, Carrie immediately went to work.

Together with her care providers, she arranged for mammograms and MRIs to test for breast cancer every six months, along with blood tests for ovarian cancer.

For a while, all the tests came back fine. Then, one routine MRI revealed some abnormal cells. Carrie had a biopsy to be sure, but the results were conclusive: cancer cells.

Like hundreds of thousands of other women, Carrie began cancer treatment — and she did it with her sister at her side.

"I started chemotherapy," she says. "Lost my hair, lost my appetite, lost a good sense of myself. But, you can come out the other side."

Erica and Carrie. Image via Cigna.

"Without preventive care, I probably would not be here today," she says, her voice breaking. "That's the truth."

Along with knowing her genetics, early detection helped save Carrie’s life. Now she’s not taking anything for granted.

"This could happen to anybody, no matter what age you are," she says. "I would highly suggest people go in to have regular doctor visits and to know your numbers so that you can take control of your health and your life."

Keeping an eye on your health numbers — blood pressure, blood sugar, BMI and cholesterol — can help you spot potential health problems early.

Erica agrees. "Going to the doctor is not the most comfortable thing and mammograms are not that comfortable, but I think Carrie has shown people what’s good about going to the doctor and finding out early."

As Carrie thinks about her future, she’s excited about what it holds. "I'm looking forward to having a family one day, traveling the world, and being more of a participant in this crazy, awesome life."

Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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via The Walt Disney Company / Flickr

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Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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