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Blood test can determine if you're carrying a cancer gene

Blood test can determine if you're carrying a cancer gene
Blood test can determine if you're carrying a cancer gene 01:48

(CBS DETROIT) - Up to 10% of all cancers are hereditary and researchers can identify if a patient is carrying a cancer gene.

It's true for diagnosing Lynch syndrome, where a blood test can make that determination.

Sarina Oden says a routine check-up led her to a surprising diagnosis when she told her primary care physician about her family's medical history.

"My dad had been diagnosed with colon and prostate," Oden said.

"My mom has like a rare form of leukemia that she's had for a while, and so I was telling her all this stuff and she's just like, 'Wow, have you ever thought about doing a cancer genetic test?'"

Odem was diagnosed with Lynch syndrome, a condition that increases the hereditary risks of specific cancers.

"Genetic testing is the process by which we try to identify inborn, hereditary risk for specific cancers and that is a very important piece of information because many patients don't know that they have genetic risk, which puts them at up to tenfold increased risk potentially of getting a cancer that could be largely preventable," said Dr. Dana Zakalik, corporate director of the Nancy and James Grosfeld Cancer Genetics Program. 

Oden got an early colonoscopy, and three polyps were found, but the early detection helped doctors take preventive steps.

"They were able to remove that during my appointment, and just think if I had waited until the recommended time, which is 45, you know, it might have developed into something else so I'm so just so happy that I was able to have this diagnosis," Oden said.

Since Lynch syndrome genes are carried by a parent, the detection pushed Oden to be proactive with other family members.

"Right now my four-year-old wouldn't have to get tested but it's when he gets older, he will get tested to see of he has this gene and then right now my brother actually just made an appointment today to get in to have a test to see if he has the gene as well so, so grateful for that," Oden said. 

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