Healthwise: Detecting Breast Cancer Genes

By: Stephanie Satchell Email
By: Stephanie Satchell Email

October 13, 2010

Martha Jefferson Hospital is now using new genetic testing to find the BrCa or breast cancer gene in high risk patients.

"We're looking for a mutation on a BrCa 1 or BrCa 2 gene," said Mary Beth Revak, Breast Health Liaison.

Health officials say detecting this gene early could make a difference when it comes to your treatment.

"Finding it early is real important. If you have a genetic mutation you know that you're going to keep a close eye on yourself, do your breast exams every month, see your practitioner twice a year and have your mammograms," said Revak.

Sue Goldman was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago. Although she's been a survivor for a couple of years, Goldman still went through genetic testing in 2008. She has the BrCa gene.

"I realized that the risk to members of my family was potentially higher. So, my feeling was, I wanted to do it for the rest of my family," said Sue Goldman, Breast Cancer Survivor.

The BrCa gene comes from your mother or father and then it can be passed down. So, if you don't get the genetic test you'll never know you're status.

"It potentially has saved one of my younger relatives when she had an MRI they discovered that she already had fully developed breast cancer which would not have been discovered that early," said Goldman.

Goldman says taking the genetic test is one of the best things she's ever done. Taking just a few minutes to take the test may have tacked more years onto her family's life.

If you'd like to know more about genetic testing a free community talk is happening October 26. You can call Health Connect at 434-654-7009 to register. Also, feel free to contact your local doctor to discuss genetic testing.

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