Genetic Testing For Cancer…is it for you?
What would you do if you knew cancer was a part of your future? The threat of cancer is a very real concern for women all over the world. The fact that it is genetic makes it seem like an inevitable outcome for those whose family history is riddled with the illness. For many, it can seem like a futile waiting game. But what if there were a way to combat cancer even before it began?
Breast and ovarian cancer has strong prevalence in Marissa Levesque’s family. Doctors were sure that it would only be a matter of time before she too had wrestled with it. A blood test confirmed that she carried the cancer causing gene, BRCA1, and would develop breast cancer in the future.
The blood test was a proactive measure of Levesque, however, in an effort to plan ahead. Knowing her family history, she chose to test her genes to see if she were truly at risk. This proactive approach led her to make the decision to have her breasts surgically removed and reconstructed to ensure that she would be free of the threat.
Genetic testing is a simple process and involves nothing more than for blood to be drawn. The tests can determine whether you are at risk of developing cancer or other illnesses and can be used as a starting point for protective measures in the future.
Knowing whether or not you are at risk can bring peace of mind and prepare you for what you might face in the future. With forewarnings, you can better equip yourself emotionally the burden. You will also have the ability to prepare financially and even take steps to improve your health so that your chances of survival are higher.
Testing can have a negative impact depending on the results.
A positive screening may affect your ability to obtain certain types of care or preventative measures. While insurance companies can still deny new clients for individual health policies until 2014 – this is when health care reform is suppose to take effect. So make sure your primary insurance and supplement insurance plans are in place before all screenings. Also, a positive test may have an impact on the emotional state of your loved ones as well. Taking a proactive step may help you prepare, but the results can make others feel anxious or helpless. You may wish to seek professional counseling for you and your family to better help deal with the emotional backlash of illness.
It is important to weigh the good with the bad when considering testing. Cancer is rarely a single person’s journey and keeping your support group in mind is vital.
Levesque herself has a daughter who may be at risk of developing cancer one day. She hopes, that when her daughter is old enough to make the decision, she will be proactive instead of reactive.