Genetic Risk Factors & Genetic Risk Assessment in Georgia
An estimated 5-10 percent of breast, ovarian and colorectal cancers is caused by mutations in a person’s genetic information and can be passed from generation to generation. DeKalb Medical provides the most thorough genetic risk assessment in Georgia to help you understand if you have genetic risk factors for cancer.
What is genetic risk assessment?
A sophisticated blood test tells patients if they have genetic risk factors and gives them the knowledge they need to make appropriate screening, prevention and lifestyle management decisions. This is not a test for cancer: it is a test that can tell you if a higher risk for breast, ovarian or colorectal cancer runs in your family. Knowing your risk can help you and your doctor make better, more informed decisions about your health, before cancer has a chance to develop. Also, women already diagnosed with cancer may be able to prevent a second cancer. Click here for a copy of DeKalb Medical's Genetic Risk Assessment brochure.
One organization that DeKalb Medical partners with to provide valuable genetic risk information is FORCE, which stands for Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered. FORCE is the only national nonprofit organization devoted to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Its mission includes support, education, advocacy, and promoting awareness and research specific to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Because of privacy concerns, FORCE doesn't require formal membership or disclosure of any personal information. Visitors to their website come from around the world and represent many facets of the community concerned with cancer, including patients, families, healthcare providers, educators, media, and the general public. You can also find information on their website regarding a local chapter support group. Click here to visit their site now.
Who should consider genetic testing?
People with a personal or family history of any of the following genetic risk factors:
- pre-menopausal breast cancer (under age 50)
- ovarian cancer at any age, especially if there are also cases of breast cancer in the family
- male breast cancer
- both breast and ovarian cancer in the same person
- two primary breast cancers in an individual
- two or more breast cancers in a family, one under age 50
- bilateral breast cancer
- a previously identified BRCA mutation in the family
- ethnic background (Ashkenazi Jewish)
- colorectal cancer diagnosed before age 50
- a history of colon, endometrial and other cancers (including ovarian, stomach, kidney, brain) in the family
- history of multiple colon polyps (greater than 20 altogether)
- history of childhood or rare type of cancers in the family
What actions would I take if the genetic risk assessment showed some of the gene mutations increasing my risk for these certain types of cancers?
- You would know whether you should be screened at a younger age and with greater frequency due to your genetic risk
- Certain drugs or preventative surgery may also be considered
- Treatment plans for cancer patients may be modified
What is the next step?
A personalized genetic risk assessment can help identify individuals who have genetic risk factors and are at higher risk for certain types of hereditary cancers. If indicated, a free appointment for a more detailed discussion of the pros and cons of genetic testing, prevention strategies and a DNA blood test can be made for you. Most insurance plans cover the cost of DNA testing if your personal or family history meets basic genetic risk criteria. Call 404.501.EASY to talk to the Cancer Genetic Risk Assessment Specialist in the Cancer Center or to request an appointment to evaluate your genetic risk factors.