Cancer and Genetics: What Women Need to Know
Jan 22, 2014
forms of cancer tend to run in families. For both women and men,
knowing when to seek genetic testing may lead to earlier intervention
in, or even prevention of, a cancer diagnosis.
Stopping Breast Cancer Before it Strikes
Ten percent of breast cancer diagnoses involve gene mutations, which
can be detected with a simple blood test. “Knowing if you have a genetic
mutation, and therefore have a higher risk of breast and ovarian
cancer, means you can be more aggressive in preventing the disease,”
says Doreen Babott, (pictured left), MD, board certified in medical
oncology, hematology and internal medicine, and a member
of the Medical Staff of University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (UMCPP).
Women who find they are genetically predisposed have several options.
Protective surgery, like the double mastectomy Angelina Jolie
underwent, is one possibility. Hormonal therapy is another.
screenings, including monthly self-exams, annual breast exams, and
digital mammograms as often as twice a year, are essential for high-risk
women,” says Dr. Babott. “An annual MRI, and in some cases an
ultrasound, means breast changes can be quickly identified.”
Women with a family history of breast cancer before age 50 and women
with both breast and ovarian cancer in their families are more likely to
have gene mutations, as are Eastern European Jews and African Americans
who have a family member diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35
Genetic counseling and testing services are available at the UMCPP
Breast Health through The Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey LIFE
To schedule an appointment or for more information about genetic
testing, call the UMCPP’s Breast Health Center at 609.688.2710.