Next posts Viewing 1-5 of 6 result(s).

Stacy's story: Part I

Written by Community Health Network on 6/10/2014 7:00:00 AM

“Is there anything I can do to help you? Maybe take the kids out for a few hours?” Those are the types of things that can really help. What you don’t want to say to a (breast) cancer patient is “How are you feeling today?”

When Stacy Costa was 18 and her aunt, age 31, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she remembers thinking to herself that she was going to get cancer too.

“It was just a feeling because four people on my mom’s side had cancer,” said Costa.

Knowing her family history, Costa stayed conscious of her breast health and very self-aware of what felt normal and what did not. Part of that included performing routine self-exams. It was one of those routine self-exams that told her a lump in her breast was different and it shouldn’t hurt to touch. She acted quickly and called her family doctor.

It started with an ultrasound and moved onto the radiology department where she had a mammogram screening and was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Upon receiving the diagnosis Costa reached out to her mother, a former nurse and pharmaceutical representative, who put her in touch with Community Breast Care Center.

“I made the call to Community and got in quickly,” said Costa. “I asked my mom to come with me, not so much because she was my mom, but because she could translate all the medical-speak. But Dr. Goulet (breast surgeon) spoke to me so plainly that I didn’t need to worry. He was so good at giving me all the information and letting me take time to make decisions.”

Costa said she wasn’t surprised by her diagnosis and that she would need surgery and chemotherapy. But she did wonder if the family history was a factor, so Dr. Goulet did a gene test. continue reading ...


Laurie's story

Written by Community Health Network on 3/21/2014 1:00:00 PM

Laurie Plue had a history of breast and ovarian cancer in her family. Knowing that her risk for developing cancer was increased due to her family lineage, she chose to have genetic testing performed to determine whether or not she carried the cancer gene.

Here is her story.

To donate to Community's patient assistance fund that supports genetic testing, visit our Community Health Network Foundation website.

Genetic counseling

At Community Health Network, we frequently use genetic testing and have genetic counselors to shepherd patients through the process. Our certified genetic counselor, Rebekah Krukenberg, MS, CGC, LGC, helps breast cancer patients understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. For more information, call 317-621-8988.


Women with BRCA mutations should remove ovaries

Written by Community Health Network on 2/27/2014 7:00:00 PM

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology studied nearly 5,800 women with specific genetic mutations called BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Researchers found that women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations who proactively had their ovaries removed reduced their risk of ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer by 80 percent, and their overall risk of death by 77 percent.

BRCA stands for breast cancer susceptibility genes, a class of genes that are tumor suppressors. Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have been linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

According to the study, women with BRCA1 mutations should have preventive ovarian surgery (known as prophylactic oophorectomy) by age 35, because waiting past that age is shown to increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

In contrast, the study suggests that women with BRCA2 mutations can delay surgery until their 40s, as their risk of ovarian cancer is not as high.

Dr. Wafic ElMasri, ovarian cancer specialist"Patients with BRCA mutations are at high risk of developing ovarian cancer, which is usually diagnosed at advanced stages and is lethal in the majority of cases," said Dr. Wafic ElMasri, OB/GYN and gynecological oncologist at Community Health Network.

"We do not have reliable screening tests that detect ovarian cancer at early stages," said ElMasri. "BRCA mutation carriers should undergo risk-reducing removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries between ages 35 and 40, or when childbearing is complete." 

How do I know if I have a BRCA gene mutation?

To determine if you carry the hereditary gene, know your family history. If there is a first or second degree connection to breast or ovarian cancer in the family, your risk for being diagnosed with cancer is increased. You can then have a genetic test performed to determine if you do, in fact, have the gene mutation.

Where can I get genetic testing?

Community Health Network provides genetic testing and counseling for women who believe that they are at risk for developing cancer. To learn more, or to schedule a test, call 317-621-8988.


Cancer answers: What is genetic testing?

Written by Community Health Network on 2/25/2014 9:00:00 AM

Simply put, genetic testing is the process of using medical tests to look for changes (mutations) in a person’s genes or chromosomes.

The type of testing most often used to check for cancer risk is called predictive gene testing. It’s used to look for gene mutations that might put a person at risk of getting cancer. It’s usually done in a patient who has a history of cancer in their family and a chance of inheriting the disease. The test helps to determine if a person has a certain gene mutation known to increase the risk for a certain cancer or confirm a suspected gene mutation in a person or family member.

An example is testing for changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (known breast cancer genes) in a woman whose mother and sister had breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, only about five to ten percent of all cancers are thought to be related to an inherited gene change that strongly affects a person’s risk for a certain type of cancer.

At Community Health Network, we frequently use genetic testing and have genetic counselors to shepherd patients through the process. Our certified genetic counselor, Rebekah Krukenberg, MS, CGC, LGC, helps breast cancer patients understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease.

Questions about genetic counseling?

Call the Community Health Network genetic counseling hotline at 317-621-8988.


Scientists find bladder cancer similar to breast cancer

Written by Community Health Network on 2/20/2014 8:30:00 PM

Using genetic testing, scientists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center™ identified a resemblance between muscle invasive bladder cancer and three of the four sub-types of breast cancer (published in Cancer Cell February 2014). They found that the bladder cancer genes look very similar to some breast cancers.

“Several of our findings have immediate potential impact on how we address muscle-invasive bladder cancer with chemotherapy,” said study senior author David McConkey, Ph.D., professor of Urology. “These dormant (bladder) cells evade chemotherapy, which preferentially kills dividing cells.”

By taking expertise used in treating breast cancer with chemotherapy and applying it to the treatment of muscle invasive bladder cancer, patients could benefit.

As reported by MD Anderson Cancer Center, the muscle-invasive disease only makes up about 30 percent of bladder cancer cases, but causes the vast majority of deaths. It’s treated with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.

“We know that cisplatin-based chemotherapy combinations work for about 30-40 percent of cases, but there’s no way to identify patients in advance who are likely to benefit,” McConkey said.

McConkey and colleagues identified a basal subtype of invasive bladder cancer that’s aggressive but vulnerable to chemotherapy and a p53-like luminal subtype that’s highly resistant to chemotherapy. These observations could lead to pre-treatment tumor analysis that guides the chemotherapy decision. (Full press release)


Next posts Viewing 1-5 of 6 result(s).

Appointments available!

To make an appointment with an MD Anderson Cancer Network® certified physician at Community, call 800-777-7775 today!



Meet our nurse navigators

When it comes to your fight against cancer, they've got your back. Our nurse navigators act as a guide, resource, advocate and educator for newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families. Learn more here.


Categories


Tags