Should you be tested for the "cancer gene"?

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Would you be tested to see if you had a mutated gene that increases your risk for breast, or ovarian, cancer?

Genetic testing has been around since the 90's.  But, St. Francis' Center for Breast Heath is working to expand their program.  So, they have added a Genetics Educator that can counsel you before and after the test.

Cindy Snyder helps people understand their options. She sees patients every Wednesday in the Breast Center off Hilton Ave.  The service is free.

Based on your family history, Snyder can give you a probability that you have a mutation and then explain your options.

She suggests talking with your primary physician or oncologist about your family history before being referred to counseling.

Linda DeJohn was encouraged by her oncologist to be tested, but says she did it for a different reason.  "I have 2 daughters and 3 granddaughters. So, I wanted to know particularity for them."

Snyder also counsels people after the test, especially if they are positive, explaining all of their options, including chemo-prevention to preventative surgery.

If you have questions, call The Center for Breast Health at 706-257-7700.

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