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Why it’s important for you to get genetic testing if you qualify

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 10:33 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -5 to 10% of all cancers have ben related to gene mutations that are passed down through families, according to Cancer.org.  News Source 8′s Megan Cole has more on how to qualify for genetic testing and why it’s important for you to get it.

Certain cancers can run in families.  They can be inherited.

“Genetic testing is something that we use to try to figure out a couple of different things.  We use genetic testing mostly in our practice to see basically what type of genes are available to kind of aim cancer therapy at. There’s also another type of genetic testing it’s called germline mutations, basically something that has happened which has passed down from parent to child.”

Josee Romann is a family nurse practitioner at Cary Medical Center.  She says there are a number of ways people can qualify for genetic testing.

“Someone can qualify for testing a lot of times anyone that comes through our clinic we’ll either take…if they’ve already gone through surgery and had some tissue biopsied or they had some sort of tumor that we can test, we can send that off to genetic testing. For the germline mutations for the mutations that are passed down from parent to child, those are more screening.  If we interview a patient or if you come to our practice and maybe someone in your 40′s with breast cancer that has a fairly aggressive profile, then we can probably send you for more genetic with an official genesis.”

Romann adds that if you do test positive for a gene, there are certain steps you can take.

“A lot more aggressive surveillance or if your tumor or tissue pathology tests positive for that particular mutation, it’s a lot more aggressive chemotherapy.  If someone has a positive mutation and they don’t have any symptoms or signs of cancer yet there is sometimes a discussion we’ll have with the risk vs the benefits of going through say a particular surgery.”

If you are concerned about cancer running in your family, you’re encouraged to contact your primary care provider.

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