Our health care clinic has been in operation for 80 years, and some of our patients have been coming here since they were children. We pride ourselves on providing balanced medical care that looks at all aspects of a patient's wellbeing, including their mood, mental health, social connection as well as their physical health. As many of our patients are older, we've become specialists in geriatric care and help patients to stay at home as long as possible. We find that happy and connected seniors tend to be healthy. Our blog is all about holistic care for older patients in a health care clinic.
Breast cancer is an illness that can affect anyone, but it is much more common in people who have certain genetics. People who have mutations in genes PALB2, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are more likely to develop breast cancer. Genetic screening for these mutations can help people to understand their risk and take appropriate action. Here are three reasons to have genetic screening to see if you have any of the common breast cancer mutations.
Fear of developing breast cancer can hang over many people's lives, particularly if they have close relatives who have suffered from the disease. For these people, negative results on a genetic screening test can bring peace of mind, allowing them to live their lives free from fear of cancer.
Of course, breast cancer can develop even in people who do not have a mutation, although this is less common. Whether your genetic screening test gives positive or negative results, it remains important to attend breast screenings.
2. A Chance to Prevent Breast Cancer
If a genetic screening test reveals mutations in your BRCA or PALB2 genes, that means you are at a higher-than-average risk of developing breast cancer. The good news is that there are therapies that can help to prevent the disease. For example, you could take a hormonal medicine such as tamoxifen to suppress the growth of breast tumours. You might even choose to have surgery to remove breast tissue if you are at very high risk.
3. Make Informed Decisions About Screening
Breast cancer screening is important for all women, but for women who have high-risk mutations, the standard schedule of screening might not be enough to provide adequate protection. If genetic screening suggests that you are at high risk of developing breast cancer, speak to your primary care doctor to find out if you should have more frequent screenings for breast cancer. You should, of course, continue to check your own breasts regularly for lumps or unexpected changes, which can be signs of cancer.
In addition to raising the risk of breast cancer, mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are also associated with a higher risk of ovarian cancer. This disease is relatively rare in the general population, so most women do not have regular ovarian screenings. If you have a high-risk mutation, ask your doctor if pelvic exams, ultrasound exams or blood tests would be suitable for you to screen for ovarian cancer.