Genetic testing helps determine cancer risk

Print
Email
|

by JEAN ENERSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email

KING5.com

Posted on October 27, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Twelve years ago Suzanne Larsen survived an aggressive form of ovarian cancer.

Today, she's back in the doctor's office, getting her latest test results.

Suzanne's about to find out from Dr. Elizabeth Swisher if she tested positive for an inherited mutated gene associated with breast and ovarian cancers.

The test was developed by Dr. Mary Calire King at the University of Washington. She was the first to find a gene for hereditary breast cancer BRCA-1. Since then a second gene, BRCA-2 has also been identified.

"What our work was able to show is that inherited mutations in these genes that are passed from a mother or a father to a donor daughter increase breast and ovarian cancer in women when they inherited these mutations," said Dr. King.

Suzanne's daughter, who had breast cancer, took the test and learned she has the gene. Now it's Suzanne's turn.

"Your daughter had breast cancer, that explains why she had breast cancer, you had ovarian cancer so it was suggested that you would carry that same mutation. So indeed that what our results show, that you have that same mutation that your daughter has," said Dr. King.

Suzanne now knows she's at high risk for breast cancer.

Only about 5 percent to 10 percent of breast cancer cases are thought to be connected to a genetic mutation. For most women, regular mammograms and monthly self-exams are the best course of action.

Print
Email
|