When Medine was three or four, her grandmother died of breast cancer. As she grew up, she watched her maternal aunt battle both breast and ovarian cancer.
Medine’s mother was promptly tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, which dramatically increase a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. She tested positive. After the birth of her fourth child, she had her ovaries removed as a preventative measure.
When Medine expressed interest in having herself tested, her mother insisted; “What’s the point, you can’t take your ovaries out, you want to have kids.” But to her, the decision seemed like a "no-brainer."
"I didn't see the value in not knowing that I carried the gene", she told Vogue in a recent interview. "I thought, at least I'll know and I can share it with my doctors... my doctor just asked me one day if I wanted to get tested, and I said yes," she said.
A few days later she received a phone call to say that she had tested positive.