Testing For Cancer Genes Provided By Baptist Hospital

Women with strong family histories of breast or ovarian cancer have a new resource for helping them make their health care decisions.

Baptist Hospital provides a test that can reveal whether a person carries the genes for certain familial types of cancer, including breast and ovarian cancer.

The test also can detect genes for an inherited condition that puts people at risk for colon cancer.

Information from such testing can help determine whether an individual should be more closely monitored for signs of the disease or undergo more aggressive treatment if already diagnosed with it. The testing also could help cancer patients decide whether to alert family members about possible increased risk for breast, ovarian or colon cancer. The prognoses for all three cancers are greatly improved with early detection.

As a service to physicians and the community, a specially trained and experienced Baptist Health Care oncology nurse will be available to discuss the test with patients and to explain its findings and the various options available to a patient once the test results arrive.

Although the test can reveal whether a person carries the abnormal genes that puts her or him at high risk for particular types of breast, ovarian or colon cancer, it cannot predict if or when that person may develop the disease. Other factors are believed to work with the flawed genes to initiate cancer. On the other hand, absence of the flawed genes does not guarantee a person will not develop cancer. There are many types of the disease, and not all have an inherited risk.

The test is optional and requires a doctor’s order. People with significant family histories of breast, ovarian or colon cancer and women diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50 are encouraged to discuss the test with their doctors.

The test itself involves drawing a blood sample or oral sample and sending it to a specialized laboratory, where DNA is analyzed for the suspect genes. The process takes several weeks and is expensive, although in some cases Medicare, and insurance will pay for it.

  For more information about receiving this service from our trained staff or genetic testing for breast, ovarian or colon cancers, please call 850.469.2200. For additional information, go to the National Cancer Institute’s Web site, cancer.gov.