Genetic Testing May Save Future Families

September 2007 – New Orleans, Louisiana – The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery offers BRCA Gene Screening.

New Orleans, Louisiana – You have your father’s eyes, your mother’s smile and your grandmother’s sense of humor, but you may have inherited more from your family than you realize. Knowing your family’s health history can help in the prevention and detection of many diseases. In particular, some cancers can be hereditary, such as breast and ovarian cancer.

The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery in New Orleans now offers BRCA Gene Testing to patients with a strong family history of cancer or very early onset of the disease. BRCA1, located on chromosome 17 and BRCA 2 located on chromosome 13 are the genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer. “With the ability to now assess a woman’s risk of developing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer there is no doubt that genetic testing saves lives,” comments Dr. Alan Stolier MD.

The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery will host its second in an open series of monthly support groups, entitled EnCourage, on Wednesday, October 10th from 5:00pm – 6:30pm. In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this EnCourage meeting will focus on genetic testing.

Gene testing is a process that looks for inherited genetic alterations (mutation) that may increase your risk of certain cancers. This type of testing may show whether the risk of cancer in a family is passed through their genes. The genetic test itself is a simple process that usually involves drawing a single tube of blood. For breast cancer risk, the testing involves looking for altered genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation is at higher risk for developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer than women without a mutation. Though not every woman inheriting an altered gene will develop breast cancer, the risk is high with approximately 80% being affected. Ovarian cancer risk is also elevated in women inheriting an altered BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. The risk of ovarian cancer has been estimated to be 25-44% depending on which gene is altered. Once cancer risk has been determined the dedicated medical staff at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery provides patient counseling and a treatment plan to reduce risk for those affected.

Because gene mutations can pass between family members the doctors at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery highly recommend genetic counseling and testing for family members who may also be at risk. Testing is performed exclusively by the Myriad Genetics Laboratory in Salt Lake City. In many instances the cost of genetic testing is covered by health insurance. Once a family member has tested positive for a gene alteration, Myriad offers testing of additional family members at a reduced cost.

Candidates for BRCA testing include those women with:

  • Breast cancer in two or more close relatives, such as a mother and two sisters
  • Early onset of breast cancer in family members, often before age 50
  • History of breast cancer in more than one generation
  • Cancer in both breasts in one or more family members
  • Ovarian cancer at any age
  • Male breast cancer
  • One or more BRCA positive relatives

Eastern and Central European (Ashkenazi) Jewish ancestry, with a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer

The medical staff at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery can assist individuals and families in making decisions regarding the benefits of testing as well as options to reduce the cancer risk. Regardless of gene screening results, all women should practice preventative measures to help reduce the risk of breast cancer by performing monthly breast self-examinations, having regular clinical exams and having yearly mammograms beginning at age 40.

For more information on Gene Testing or to schedule an appointment for a Genetic Testing consultation contact the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery at (504) 899-2800.

EnCourage Support Groups:

Are held at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery –
1717 St. Charles Avenue
Held on Select Wednesdays at 5:00pm until 6:30pm
Free and Open to the Public. Space is Limited.
* Reservations Required. Call 504.899.2800