From an interview with
Christel Hayes, Nurse Practitioner
McLeod Hereditary Cancer Risk Clinic
Cancer affects one out of three individuals in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. The disease can attack many organs and locations in the body. So, it’s not surprising that most people know or have family members, who know people with cancer.
All cancers have one common element. They result from harmful changes in your genes. These gene changes can be caused by lifestyle habits or exposure to environmental cancer-causing agents, such as harmful chemicals or everyday things, like microwaves. But some mutations are changes that we have are passed down from generation to generation. And those are the ones that we refer to as “inherited cancers.”
A person with hereditary cancer risk has genes that make them more susceptible to cancer than someone in the general population. The medical management for a person in general population would be different than a person, who is at high risk. These people need greater surveillance, have family considerations you need to talk about and, possibly, have surgeries or medications to help decrease their cancer risk.
By understanding this risk and being tested, it will empower you to protect yourself.
WHO NEEDS GENE TESTING?
The following people may want to consider genetic testing for cancer:
Testing uses a sample of the DNA, using a saliva or blood sample. More than 90% of the insurance companies currently cover hereditary cancer panel testing.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
An individual can make an appointment in our office by calling 843-777-7951. We will offer pre-test counseling about genetics, get a collection of your family history and determine if you’re suitable for the test.
Have a question? Ask a Cancer Specialist.