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The Role of Genetic Testing and Counseling in the Prevention of Cancer

By Ken Dey, News and Community
May 20, 2013

The recent wave of publicity about Angelina Jolie's decision to have a  preemptive double mastectomy after discovering she had a mutated BRCA1 gene that is know to raise the risks of breast and ovarian cancers, has prompted some debate on whether she made the right decision.

Although most cancers are thought of  as sporadic events, approximately 10 percent are hereditary. These hereditary cancers are due to specific inherited factors or genes that cause an increase in susceptibility to develop certain cancers.

Families can pass on a gene from generation to generation, which increases the risk of these cancers to develop at a young age. In Angelina Jolie's case her mother died at a young age of ovarian cancer.  St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute has an active genetic testing and genetic counseling program. In this video, Heather Hussey, a genetic counselor with St. Luke's MSTI, talks about Angelina Jolie's decision and the benefits and challenges of deciding to undergo genetic testing.


About The Author

Ken Dey served as Public Relations Coordinator at St. Luke's from 2008-2014.