Page 5 - Elevate Winter 2021
P. 5


                                                KNOW THE ODDS                                THE FUTURE OF

                                             When cancer is inherited, it’s                  GENETIC
                                             due to a genetic defect called                  TESTING
                                             a mutation. According to the
                                                                                             Genetic testing has made
                                               American Cancer Society,                      giant advances in recent
                                              between 5% and 10% of all                      years. Today’s tests are
                                                                                             more comprehensive than
                                                  cancers are inherited.                     ever before. We now have a
                                                                                             fuller understanding of how
                                                                                             genes affect risk. And the
                                                                                             benefit of cancer genetic
                                                                                             testing is so clear that many
                                                                                             insurance plans now help
                                                                                             cover the cost.

                                                                                                “I hope that genetic
                                                                                             testing will continue to
                                                                                             improve,” says Claire
                                                                                             Arnold, MS, CGC, licensed
                                                                                             genetic counselor at Atrium
                                                                                             Health Navicent. “That will
                                                                                             enable us to better assess
                                                                                             cancer risk and individualize
                                                                                             recommendations for
                                                                                             cancer screening and

at risk for cancer, you’re not left on your  take action, whether that involves genetic      »	 Results of genetic testing (if any)
own. Our genetic counselors will help you    counseling, genetic testing or something else.  »	 Type of cancer family members had
decide what to do next.
                                             IT STARTS WITH YOU                                 or have
   You may want to undergo additional                                                           If possible, dig deeper. Ask how your
cancer screening. Earlier or more frequent   Genetic counseling and testing are              family member responded to treatment
screenings can help detect any cancer in     amazing tools. However, they’re useless         and whether or not the cancer came back.
its earliest, most treatable stages.         on their own. To benefit from them, you         With this information, you can enter your
                                             have to know your family history. Not           genetic counseling session with confidence,
   Or you may prefer more drastic            sure about your family history of cancer?       ready to take control of your healthcare.
action. For some cancers, surgery            Gather your family members. It’s time for          “The information gleaned from genetic
can almost eliminate your risk               hard conversations.                             testing can be life-saving,” Arnold says.
altogether. Removing the at-risk body                                                        “Learn what you can on your own and talk
part makes it much less likely that             “Sometimes, family dynamics can make         to your family physician. If you feel you
you’ll experience that cancer in the         it difficult to have those talks,” Arnold       could benefit from genetic cancer testing,
future. Chemoprevention—the use              says. “Explaining the purpose behind your       we’re a phone call away.”
of medications, vitamins and other           questions could be helpful in encouraging
substances—can stop cancer from              relatives to share information.”                CALL 478-633-6270 TO LEARN MORE
growing in the first place.                                                                  OR TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
                                                Any information you can get about            WITH A CANCER GENETIC
   Regardless of what other steps you take,  family members diagnosed with cancer            COUNSELOR AT ATRIUM HEALTH
you should share the results with family     is helpful. Basic information to seek           NAVICENT.
members.This helps them understand           includes:
their own risk. It also empowers them to     »	 Approximate age at diagnosis

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