Did you know that one in eight women born in the U.S. today will develop
breast cancer at some point in their lives? As scary as that number may
sound, most women survive breast cancer, especially when detected early.
Plus, women who are aware of personal risk factors for developing breast
cancer have an even better chance of survival. Knowing this can be the
first step in prevention, which what those working on the front lines
of this effort hope.
A good start is getting an annual mammogram. However, taking advantage
of genetic screening is also an important step to empowering yourself
in the future. The American Cancer Society and most other authorities
in this field, predict more than 271 thousand new cases of invasive breast
cancer will be diagnosed in U.S. women this year. More than 2,600 men
will also be affected.
So how do you go about getting genetic testing? Choose to have your mammograms
at St. Mary's Breast Center and receive a genetic risk assessment
at no extra cost. The assessment helps verify if further genetic testing
is necessary to determine the degree risk for the disease. All we need
is some simple information regarding any history of cancer personally
or family related.
Depending on the risk level associated with your family history, you may
decide to have genetic testing done to determine if any of your genes
are the abnormal ones linked to breast and ovarian cancer. BRCA1, BRCA2,
PALB2 are three of the most well-known abnormal genes connected with breast
cancer. Women who inherit these mutations (abnormal changes), from their
parents have a much higher-than-average risk of developing ovarian cancer
and breast cancer. Additionally, men with these mutations have an increased
risk of breast cancer, (higher if the BRCA2 gene is affected) and prostate cancer.
The genes BRCA and PALB2 function to keep breast cells growing normally,
preventing cancer growth. However, when a person inherits a mutated form
of these genes, they are more likely to malfunction and the risk of breast
cancer increases. While not proven, it is speculated that up to 10% of
all breast cancers are linked to abnormal BRCA and PALB2 genes.
Interested in genetic testing? St. Mary's Breast Center would be happy
to set you up with a genetic counselor to discuss all the risks and benefits.
Qualifications are based on both family and personal cancer history. You
can get tested one of two ways, a BUCCAL/Saliva test or a blood test.
The test is a test panel for 25 genes, 13 of which are associated with
breast cancer. There are a total of 25 genes tested for connected to hereditary
cancers such as,
If you, or someone you know has a family history of hereditary cancer,
I urge you to take the initiative that could have life-saving results.
Not sure about your family history? Check out the online risk assessment
available through our website at
stmaryskc.com/breastcenter. Always feel free to call the Breast Center with any questions.
At St. Mary’s we are celebrating Cinco de Mammo through May 10. We
hope to encourage women to get their annual mammogram before the typical
October rush during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are giving away
Cinco de Mayo themes goodies and raffling off some restaurant gift certificates
among other activities. Please feel free to walk-in or make an appointment
by calling 816-307-0084.
Christy Myers is a Breast Center Navigator at St. Mary's Medical Center
and can be reached at 816-655-5767.