Healthy Conversations

Healthy Conversations with Saint Alphonsus

Breast Cancer and Genetic Testing

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A few nights ago, KTVB Channel 7 ran a story on Annie – one of Dr. Prier’s patients at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.  At the age of 28, she faced a positive BRCA diagnosis, and had to make some tough decisions.  See the full story here.  

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Photo courtesy of KTVB.com

With the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure coming up, this story helps in reflecting on how many people have been affected by breast cancer.  Most could instantly think of someone they personally know that’s had to face the disease.  Breast cancer doesn’t really play favorites – it impacts mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and sisters.  It’s diagnosed in career women, stay-at-home moms, students, and otherwise healthy people.  In fact, hundreds of thousands of strong women across the U.S. are affected by breast cancer each year – women that are forced to battle for their lives against a disease that still has no cure.

Fortunately, science and technology are progressing.  We now know that certain types of people are more susceptible to breast cancer through their genetics and family history.  By isolating the “BRCA” (or “BReast CAncer) gene, doctors and laboratories are able to take a pre-emptive strike against the disease.  

This is bitter-sweet news for those that undergo genetic testing.  A positive BRCA test often means a mastectomy, which can be a frightening thought for some.  On the other hand, a positive genetic test means that a mastectomy surgery will exponentially lower the chances for developing breast cancer.  And with incredible advances in plastic surgery, the mastectomy is a safer and more appealing option than ever before.  

While there is still no cure, we have found ways to more precisely diagnose, treat, and put breast cancer into remission.  We must continue our journey to finding a cure, as hundreds of thousands of women’s lives depend on our support each year.  

To show your support, join the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure by clicking here.  You may also be a candidate for free genetic counseling at Saint Alphonsus, depending on your family history – find out more by calling (208) 367-8787 or by clicking here to find out more.  

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