In my last blog I discussed the importance of obtaining a family cancer history from each and every patient to see if they qualify for genetic testing for one of many cancer causing deleterious genes which might be lurking in your DNA. In this case it is better to know what you have been dealt at birth;now, armed with this information, you can take charge of your health and do something to prevent cancer from striking you sooner than you think! This information not only effects you, but your sisters, brothers, and any children you may have. So what do I look for? (you can do this just as well as I do every day). Lets remember YRM-young, rare, and multiple. Let’s start with YOUNG; if anyone with a personal or family history of Breast, Colorectal, or Endometrial(uterine) cancer at age 50 or younger, you might qualify for genetic testing. Next up is RARE;if ovarian cancer, male breast cancer or triple negative cancer, certain colorectal and endometrial cancers with abnormal histology(the way cells look under the microscope) and finally a history of 10 or more gastrointestinal polyps, you may qualify for genetic testing. Finally, MULTIPLE: if 2 or more of the following cancers is or was present on the same side of the family: breast/ovarian/prostate/pancreatic/small bowel/brain and melanoma. So there is a lot of cancers out there and if any of the YRM’s are in your family, tell your doctor you want to be tested; if you’re negative-celebrate, but continue to be screened; if you’re positive, celebrate- now armed with new information, you can monitor closely what needs to be followed, or have life-saving surgery performed before its too late! This simple blood test is perhaps the most important test you will ever have done-much more significant than a pap smear or routine blood work. Always remember: if your environment doesn’t get you, heredity will.
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