Wednesday, October 12, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: GENETIC TESTING - WHO SHOULD BE TESTED?

Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision when it comes to genetic testing.

Have any of your relatives had cancer?
Does your family history raise some red flags?
The best person to test first is usually the person with cancer.

Most Cancer cases are not related to family history.
  • 5 to 10% of cancer cases are related to genetics
  • Genetic testing is a tool to identify individuals at increased risk for developing certain cancers because of family history
  • You can inherit an abnormal gene from either one of your parents
  • Inheriting a gene linked to cancer increases your risk to develop disease
  • Breast, colorectal,ovarian,prostate, pancreatic and endometrial cancers sometimes run in the family
But most cancers are related to lifestyle choices like smoking, not exercising and eating unhealthy foods.

Know your Family's cancer history.
  • Speak with relatives to fill in as much information as possible
  • Especially speak to first- and second-degree blood relatives
  • Watch for family members:
    • who have cancer before age 50
    • with the same type of cancer
    • who have two or more different cancers
    • who have a rare cancer such as male breast cancer or sarcoma
    • who have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
Carefully consider the decision for genetic testing.
  • a benefit of knowing is the ability to work with your provider to monitor and address your cancer risks
  • to help prevent cancer or find it early, when it’s most treatable
  • remember the decision will impact your family, since your test results may forecast their cancer risks, too
  • understand that group insurance plans are prohibited by law from using genetic information to discriminate
Important to remember: a gene mutation does not mean you will definitely get cancer just as not having a gene mutation will not guarantee that you won’t get cancer

Phyllis Everett, NP-C is an Adult Nurse Practitioner, certified as an Advanced Practice Nurse in Genetics. Phyllis graduated from Duke University in 2005. Since that time, she has worked in the field of hematology and oncology. Now affiliated with Patient Centered Care, Phyllis is available to provide cancer risk evaluation.

If you are interested in learning more, contact our office.  patientcareofwilmington.com

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