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You may have inherited risks for developing cancer: Here's what you need to know

Here's your Saturday afternoon news round up | 04/20/2024
Here's your Saturday afternoon news round up | 04/20/2024 03:29

BALTIMORE -- Regular screenings are critical to identifying and treating cancer early. It's also important to be aware of any genetic mutations that already exist in your body.  

Dr Joanne Mortimer, a medical oncologist at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, discussed the BRCA gene with WJZ. The gene works to repair cells, but abnormalities could have huge impacts on your health. 

"When you have a mutation of a BRCA gene, you are at increased risk for developing a number of cancers of which breast cancer is probably the most common," Mortimer said. 

However, ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic cancers may also arise.  

"Knowing your BRCA status may heighten your awareness about your risks for developing cancer down the road," Mortimer said. 

According to the National Cancer Institute, one in 400 people in the U.S. carry an inherited BRCA mutation.  

Jessica, a Maryland native, is one of them. 

"About 12 years ago I had genetic testing done which all stemmed because of my mom being diagnosed with breast cancer," Jessica told WJZ. 

Through the years doctors monitored her health closely. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, 2023.  

"It was a very early diagnosis at stage one which is very treatable. Even though it's an unfortunate situation having that knowledge has really helped me," she said. 

Now an advocate for genetic testing, she's partnered with AstraZeneca for the beBRCAware campaign.  

Dr. Joanne Mortimer, MD,  stated the campaign contains a lot of information about testing and the impact it has on treatment. beBRCAware details additional information about individual cancers as well.

Doctors recommend those with a family history of cancer to go get tested. Even if you've already been diagnosed, it could help identify treatment options. 

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