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In recent years, genetic testing to predict your cancer risk has become more available. As researchers learn more about how genes can predict your cancer risk, it's important to consider all the options.
If you're in a high-risk family, you may be considering genetic testing. The most common cancers that have a genetic component include breast, ovarian, prostate and colon cancers (along with many others as well).
Before you undergo genetic testing, gather as much information as you can about your family and medical history. Talk with your doctor or a genetic counselor about your personal and family medical history. This will help you better understand your risk. Discuss any questions or concerns you have about genetic testing. Also, talk about what your options will be, depending on the results of the test.
If a positive genetic test is discovered, you'll be able to talk with an expert about your specific risk. Some of the benefits of genetic testing include early interventions to decrease risk of actually developing cancer, such as:
The field of studying genes for predicting cancer is evolving constantly. We are only at the beginning stages of understanding how genes predict our cancer risk and many other aspects of health.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
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Where can I get quality genetic testing done?
Last year I was diagnosed with Anal/rectal cancer. I went through intense radiation and chemotherapy. Should I have genetic testing to see if it will come back? or is because I've already had it the testing will show positive anyway?
I worried about breast cancer but couldnt afford a genetic test here in New Orleans. I read about a testing company on line started by the wife of the co-founder of Google that only charged $99 for the test. It was a God-sent. What a relief to find that I didn't have the markers.
I was diagnosed with breast CA at age 45 (my sister (recently deceased from breast CA) at age 38), I have a daughter (and a son), and after (much) discussion with my family, decided to be tested (primarily) so my daughter would know if she might have inherited a gene mutation. (thankfully I have neither) (fyi, the lab (Myriad) doing the BRAC testing has a payment plan)
Hi everyone. I too have quite a "worrisome" family history which makes me think about my son and my nieces and nephews. Ms. Sheryl, could you please send me a list of hospitals in the Philippines where I may find such testing being done. Being in the healthcare profession I would very much want the next generations of my family live a healthier cancer-free life.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and have a "worrisome" family history. My oncologist wants me to have the BRCA test done, but so far, I have not done it. I don't think it's covered by my insurance, for one thing. My other concern is this . . . I know health insurance can't legally treat me different, but life, long-term and disability can, from what I understand. And what about my kids - what's to say that, in the future, they may have to answer questions for those types of insurance about any BRCA test results from me . . . I won't let this affect their future. I have my ovaries removed, since that is a hard cancer to diagnose early, and I'm comfortable with where I'm at right now. I won't let this affect my kids if it doesn't have to.
Our practice recently started offering genetic testing to our patients. The results are very detailed hand helpful. Last week, the test accurately detected a high risk for prostate cancer for one of our patients. Patients have given us positive feedback on the test, and we are quite happy with the results!
Arlene - Early symptoms of colon cancer include persistent abdominal pain, a change in bowel habits from usual, blood in the stool, weakness and fatigue and unexplained weight loss. For more information about colon cancer, see this page for the colon cancer overview on Mayoclinic.com http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/colon-cancer/DS00035
Bladder cancer symptoms may include blood in the urine, frequent urination and/or painful urination, back pain and abdominal pain. For more information on bladder cancer, see this page on mayoclinic.com
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bladder-cancer/DS00177. I would suggest making an appointment to have your husband evaluated for his symptoms. Especially if these symptoms are new to him. Early detection of cancer very important.
I would like to know the symtons of colon & bladder cancer, my husband has alot of trouble with both right now, is that a possiblety? He is loosing weight & has been feeling tired & lifeless also.
Allegedly Dubya signed a Bill into law that insurance companies, employers, etc. could not use genetic tests against an applicant. And, if you've been to a doctor lately you've signed a HIPAA form. Please read the form you are signing or, in the alternative, please Google HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act). Again, allegedly, your information is protected! What I find most interesting is I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50 and two months. Since I was "over" 50 BRAC testing was not covered by my insurer. My sister recently had an abnormal mammogram and her doctor informed her protocol was for me to be tested. At whose expense? Oh to protect my nieces and my sister, but I cannot afford $1500 since all the ancillary providers are not contracted with any insurance plan and expect 100 percent reimbursement. It doesn't matter that I had no say in who was brought in as the anesthesiologist, etc. Another example of the power of the insurance companies.
Once you get tested for cancer and it comes back that you are high risk and that information is out there people will have trouble with insurance and quite possible with employment. Who would want to hire someone that has an 80% chance of developing cancer. This information must be kept private and not made available to insurance companies and employers. the doctor and the patient should be the only ones with this information.
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