Genetic Testing

​​​​​​​One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in his life, but not all men with the disease will need to be treated for their illness.
Angela Eschrich, 64, and her daughter, Ashley, 36, have a lot in common. They both have boundless energy, stunning blue eyes, incredible courage and optimism, and — unbeknownst to them until two years ago — a BRCA2 gene mutation that greatly increases their risk of getting cancer.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressor genes, meaning when they function normally their job is to keep tumors from forming. Some people however, have an altered or mutated copy of the gene and certain mutations are associated with an increased risk for several cancer types, including breast, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, melanoma, and in some families, colorectal.

Even if you already have cancer, you can’t let down your guard when it comes to prevention. In fact, cancer patients have even more reason to be on guard, because they usually have a higher risk for infection or developing other types of cancer.

Our understanding of the genetic impact on cancer risk continues to evolve rapidly, and scientific advances in the field have led to significant changes in genetic screening for cancer risk in terms of what we test for, whom we test and how we test.
Unfortunately, most pancreatic cancer cases are not found until the disease has reached stage IV.

All families have their traditions. In ours, we tend to have big families, with numerous siblings – and a lot of cancer. My father was diagnosed with cancer when he was 44 years old.

By studying similarities in high-risk individuals and tracing connections between their blood relatives, researchers are helping solve the mysteries of a disease that is usually diagnosed in the late stages, when it is harder to treat.

Because BRCA mutations are strongly linked to breast and ovarian cancer, they have been studied more widely in women than in men — and women are more likely than men to be referred by their doctors for genetic testing. But BRCA mutations are associated with many types of cancer, and men are also at risk.

An ovarian cancer test, CA125 is a reliable tool when used correctly. That is the message from Roswell Park following an FDA alert regarding the use of this common blood test.

A genetic consultation is often recommended for people who are concerned about their risk for cancer due to a personal or family history of cancer.

While an estimated 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are due to hereditary factors, ovarian cancer is unique—up to 25 percent of these cancers are thought to have a hereditary cause.