Joplin, MO- Genetic testing is playing an increasingly important role in developing a strategy to prevent certain cancers in certain patients. Freeman Oncologist Elizabeth Kent said, "In about 5% of women who have breast cancer, we know that they were carry one of these genes and instead of a slight increase in the risk of, they have a really substantial risk of breast cancer in their lifetime."
Kent said that once the disease is diagnosed, she looks at genetics. "There's a simple blood test that we can do to test for these different genes. And then we would take them and decide how are we going to treat them differently over time in terms of screening and prevention. And then we would talk with them about counseling family members about coming in having genetic counseling and testing done as well."
Each gene is associated with very specific cancers. It could be breast cancer, for example, or prostate cancer. "For Lynch Syndrome for instance - it's colon, uterine, ovarian, uretal cancer. And then less commonly, some other types like stomach cancer."