How TruGeny is Helping Patients Take Action Against Hereditary Cancer
How many times have you come across someone who has had a history or is currently fighting cancer? How many times have you listened to their experience and found that quite a few of them were living a model life, free from tobacco, alcohol and the known culprits of modern-day addictions? Were you surprised? As per the National Cancer Institute, almost 5-10 percent of all cancers are due to inherited genetic mutations. This fact makes it all the more important for us to learn and understand the kind of impact genes have on our health. The news of one acquiring hereditary cancer can be quite devastating. One tends to feel very lonely and world-weary. Once diagnosed, cancer can be treated or managed through various methods including chemotherapy, surgery, medication, followed by a life riddled with precautions. The biggest challenge for the patient is the way cancer comes in and seems to drastically control your life and your decisions. Keeping this in view, wouldn’t it be a lot more beneficial if you could be more prepared for cancer, if it is to occur? That is where genetic counselling and genetic testing come in handy.”Hereditary Cancer”
Is genetic testing a way to lessen the chances of cancer occurrence? No, but it is a way to be prepared for an eventuality by making informed decisions. By itself, does genetic testing help an average person? The results given by testing can be too complicated for someone to easily understand the risk and the factors affecting his/her health. Family history plays a very important role in the risk analysis for an individual. Therefore, genetic counselling should precede genetic testing. At truGeny, highly qualified and certified genetic counsellor will first discuss the individual’s and their family’s health history. Based on the deductions drawn from this initial consultation, they can then be advised for taking a genetic test. The process itself is very simple. All it takes is your spit, yes spit (Saliva). The best part is that you can get the test done without having to leave your home. The test kit is sent to the person’s preferred address. Once the test is done, the counsellors will walk the person through the detailed analysis of the results and advise on the next steps.
Now that you understand the benefits of genetic counselling, let’s try to learn about genetic testing. Genetic testing looks for certain inherited changes or variants in a person’s genes. These variants can have beneficial, harmful, neutral or uncertain effects considering the risk of developing cancer or other diseases. Sometimes cancer can appear to run in families, even if inherited genes are not the cause behind it. Let’s say most of the members in a family live or work in a shared environment that has an unusually high number of carcinogens. Habitual smokers staying in the same house, people working in conditions that expose them to asbestos, radon, certain pesticides or tobacco smoke can run a higher risk of developing cancer, even if their inherited genes are not to blame. In case cancer has occurred in family members who were not in such environments, it is typically advisable to opt for a genetic testing to understand the variants involved in the genes that could be causing cancer at certain ages.
Many genes involved in the known inherited cancer vulnerability syndromes have already been identified. Through testing, it can be confirmed if someone carries a harmful variant of such genes, even for those who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Sometimes a tumour DNA sequencing can also be carried out to check if existing cancer cells of people have genetic changes. This can help in charting out a better way of treatment for those who have been diagnosed with cancer. Over 50 hereditary cancer syndromes have been identified and genetic testing can help understand the progression and nature of these better, due to the available research. Some tests are also used to identify genetic variants that do not belong under named syndromes but are found to increase the risk for cancer occurrence.
Even if one has had a relatively healthy life and no instances of cancer in their family history, environmental factors, diet, chemicals etc. can possibly be a trigger for increasing the risk of cancer occurrence. While there’s no direct preventive measure available against cancer, the ability to learn about one’s risk can have a significant impact on the outcome. A detailed genetic counselling, and a genetic test can reveal information that would be useful in combating cancer early on. If already diagnosed with cancer, genetic counselling and tests can help determine the best treatment and management options, including medication that suits a patient. truGeny and its board of experts offer genetic counselling and tests to help people be better equipped against hereditary cancer. To know more about truGeny, please visit www.trugeny.com or book an appointment through this link.