Nichole Hannahs

Medical History Important in Cancer Fight

by Nichole Hannahs on May 14, 2013 at 6:35 am

Knowing your family history can help you in the fight against breast cancer.

Women have a 14 percent risk in their lifetime of getting breast cancer, that number is five times greater when their is a genetic connection to the disease. The older one gets the more chances you have.

"If you’ve got close relatives like your mother, your grandmother, your aunts or a man in your family who’s had breast cancer then you should probably see a genetic counselor to see if it is advisable for you to get tested for the BRCA genes," said Dr. Vicki Whitacre from the Health Department.

Dr. Whitacre said getting genetic testing for cancer can be expensive and some insurances don’t cover the procedures. She said testing can give you the option of having breasts removed as a preventive measure, but the decision has to come from the individual.

"Some women will have very severe emotional problems from losing their breasts," said Dr. Whitacre. "We do at least have implants and reconstructive surgery, but these are major surgeries too. There’s always a risk of surgery. But, you just have to weigh the risk and do what you feel is best for you."

Dr. Whitacre said even those with a history of male’s with breast cancer should look into genetic testing. Dr. Whitacre said to make sure you do monthly self exams and get your yearly mammogram for those over the age of 40.