Breast Cancer Awareness: Assessing Your Genetic Risk

knowyourriskOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s an opportunity to share information about genetic testing, share personal stories and share ways to prevent future cancer. If you’re someone with breast cancer, you can find out more about genetic testing and find out what tests are available at your health care provider.

A woman with breast cancer risk factors may have a positive response to a genetic test if her mother, a grandmother, a sibling, or a mother-in-law has had breast cancer. If a woman has a close family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer, she’s at increased breast cancer risk. However, there’s no guarantee that she’ll develop the disease. Her family history also doesn’t mean that she won’t be exposed to a common environmental cause of breast cancer, such as chemicals and cigarette smoke.

So, how does genetic testing tell you about your risk for developing breast cancer? If a woman with higher risk has undergone genetic testing and has shown that her family history contains a greater number of disease participants than expected, she’s considered at increased risk for developing cancer. In addition to this genetic testing can help detect breast cancer risk factors that you didn’t think you had. If you’re a young woman with little family history, having an mammogram may help you determine whether you have a greater risk of developing cancer.

If you have an ovarian tumor, you may have a chance to have genetic testing performed to find out if you have a genetic predisposition to the disease. The test will likely include a serum progesterone level measurement, an endometrial magnetic resonance imaging scan, and a mammogram. These tests may be used in conjunction with clinical examination and ultrasound screening. If you test positive, your doctor may recommend that you receive yearly ultrasound examinations, be treated for the disease, and/or take medication to suppress your immune system.

Consider genetic counseling. First, genetic testing doesn’t prove you or your family at risk for cancer. It can tell you if you do, however, have a greater chance of contracting it. For this reason, you should always talk to your doctor about any health-related decisions.

Many times a person who has been diagnosed with cancer and taken part in genetic testing has been diagnosed again after treatment. This is why it’s important to keep a regular check-up with your doctor. You should notify your doctor if you start to experience any significant changes in your health (e.g., weight loss, menstrual cycles). Also, you should notify your family members when you first are diagnosed. Most family members will understand the importance of keeping a close eye on your health.

What does this mean for you and your family?

Genetic testing can further the information on the genes you or a loved one carry. Research shows that genetic testing can help your provider recommend more precise treatment options. Genetic testing can also help you determine whether you (or your loved ones) are at an increased risk for cancer and how to improve the prognosis.

Vita Medical Solutions is proud to partner with laboratories to facilitate access to advanced hereditary cancer (CGx) genetic testing.

Learn more about your personal and family genetic makeup and personalized medicine options through our genetic test offerings. Read more specifically about CGx testing here:

With qualifying insurance, this test can cost you nothing out of pocket. Click below to schedule a call with one of Vita Medical’s Patient Services Consultants to find out your eligibility.

Call us 1.800.590.9292 (toll free) or email at [email protected].

Test. Know. Educate. Advocate.