Recently I attended a conference on breast cancer and listened to a seminar on genetic risks. The take-away from this session was assessing risk and making informed decisions based on your risks.
Here is a much abbreviated overview of genetics. Mutations occur and the body has mechanisms to repair or kill the mutations but sometimes the cells cannot get the job done. Sometimes people are born with a genetic make-up that has a mutation. Sometimes mutations are acquired.
The test I am referring to is for BRACA 1 and BRACA 2. These genes if positive have a known predisposition for ovarian and or breast cancer much higher than the general public.
There is a group of women who don’t get yearly mammograms because they are afraid. Even though breast cancer when diagnosed and treated early has a 98% survival rate and the test is free in many states, and image centers are open early, late and on Saturday, still some women resist.
You say there is no breast/ovarian cancer in your family so no need to worry. Less than 10% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a ‘Known’ family history. But looking at your family history do you really know the cause of death of your Great Grand Mother or Great Grand Father? More than 30 years ago cancer was lumped together if labeled at all. Stomach problems, women’s problems, wasting away were known causes of death before this generation. If your family heritage is from Iceland or Ashkenazi Jewish you are at a higher risk than the general public. If you notice a cancer trend in your family background would you take a genetic test? Could you do it for yourself or for your children?
Here is a good site on the topic; www.faceingourrisk.org
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