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Genetic Testing Helps Families Fight Cancer

October 21, 2010

Decatur, GA -- Lisa Massey witnessed the merciless effects of cancer that struck her father and several of her siblings. Her brother was only 23 years old when he died from colon cancer. But the nurse and mother of three children decided to take a stand against this devastating disease. Not only did Massey get Genetic Risk Assessment, but she also encouraged two of her adult children to follow in her footsteps and opt for cancer genetic testing, as well. What's more, although Massey did not have cancer, after learning that she has the BRCA2 (Breast Cancer Gene 2) gene, she elected to have a double mastectomy to prevent the possibility of getting breast cancer.

As Massey's story shows, finding out whether you have the cancer gene can save your life and possibly those of your family members. Five to 10 percent of breast, ovarian and colon cancers are due to inherited gene mutations that can be passed from generation to generation. According to DeKalb Medical Oncologist Jayanthi "Dr. Jay" Srinivasiah, M.D., "The average woman has about a ten percent chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime but women with a mutation of the BRCA1 (Breast Cancer Gene 1) or BRCA2 have about a 90 percent chance of developing breast cancer." Genetic Risk Assessment is a test that can tell you if a higher risk for certain cancer runs in your family. Those with a personal or family history of cancer and other genetic risk factors can benefit from genetic testing for cancer. "Determining if you're at higher risk for developing certain types of cancers can help you and your doctor make better decisions about your health – before cancer has had a chance to develop," says Dr. Jay, who is the medical director of Genetic Risk Assessment Program and chair of the Cancer Committee at DeKalb Medical.

DeKalb Medical offers some of the most thorough genetic risk assessment in Georgia. A Cancer Genetic Risk Assessment Specialist can discuss with you the pros and cons of genetic testing, prevention strategies and arrange a DNA blood test for you. Most insurance plans cover the cost of DNA testing if a person's family health history meets certain basic risk criteria. For more information call 404.501.EASY.

About DeKalb Medical

DeKalb Medical continues to be a leader in Atlanta in oncology research and treatment. The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons validated the excellence of our cancer program in June 2010 by granting a three-year approval with commendation to DeKalb Medical as a community comprehensive cancer center. In addition, DeKalb Medical also received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer in 2007 for exceeding the standards set out by the Commission. Only 20 percent of hospitals in the United States have been awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award.

Tori Vogt
Media Relations Coordinator
DeKalb Medical
tori.vogt@dekalbmedical.org
404.501.2885

2701 North Decatur Road Decatur, GA 30033
404.501.1000
Patient Inquiries: 404.501.5200

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