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BRCA Testing and Prophylactic Mastectomy for Breast Cancer Prevention

In this CURE Connections program, Dr. Philippa Cheetham interviews Judy Nymberg, a woman whose mother died of breast cancer at an early age. Judy shares her story about her mother’s disease, her own experience with genetic testing, and the decisions she made, undergoing prophylactic surgery to reduce her risk of developing cancer. Dr. Cheetham also talks to a certified genetic counselor, Jacquelyn Powers, from the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, who explains what you need to know about your own lifetime risk, BRCA testing, and how the results of genetic testing may affect you.

Episode 1: Family History of Breast Cancer.
cancer support, charity, hope aboundsIn this segment, Judy Nymberg describes the details of her mother’s breast cancer and her process of her beginning the testing for the BRCA mutation. Most importantly, she emphasizes that before embarking on genetic testing, one has to be prepared for a positive result.

 

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Episode 2: Who Needs Genetic Testing?
hope abounds, cancer, cancer treatmentGenetic Counselor, Jacquelyn Powers, describes the risk factors for familial breast cancer and who should get tested for a BRCA mutation. For patients who don’t have access to a genetic counselor, virtual “tele-genetics” is now available.

 

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Episode 3: Preparing for Your BRCA Testing.
hope abounds, cancer support, cancer educationLife insurance, health insurance coverage, and financial assistance are discussed. Many women are concerned about the risk for their daughters. Dr. Cheetham and Jacquelyn Powers talk about how to handle education and testing for them.

 

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Episode 4: The Genetic Counseling Visit.
hope abounds, chairty, cancer, eductationJacquelyn Powers explains how genetic counseling is tailored to each patient’s individual needs. She reviews the information you will be asked for. Patient, Judy Nymberg discusses her personal experience and what she refers to as “genetics for dummies

 

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Episode 5: Your BRCA Gene Test Results.
cnacer supports, breast cancer support, cancer chairtyOf course, it’s important to understand your options when your BRCA mutation test is positive. However, there is still a risk of developing breast cancer, albeit lower, if your result is negative or if you have a variant of uncertain significance, Jacquelyn Powers explains all of the possible BRCA test results.

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Episode 6: Options for Women with a BRCA Mutation.
cancer support, caner education, support groupsJudy Nymberg discusses the options that were presented to her once her BRCA2 test came back positive. She describes her decision-making regarding prophylactic surgeries, both oophorectomy and mastectomy.

 

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Episode 7: BRCA Testing for Men.
cancer education, cancer supportJudy Nymberg talks about her brother who is also positive for a BRCA2 mutation. Jacquelyn Powers explains why BRCA testing is important for men. She also talks about the Genetics Information Nondiscrimination Act which prevents denial of health insurance coverage based on genetic testing results.

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Episode 8: Myths About Risk of Familial Breast Cancer.
cancer support, cancer education, hope aboundsThe group discusses some of the myths pertaining to BRCA gene testing and familial breast cancer. Most patients are satisfied with the experience of going through genetic testing and counseling, even though they may be disappointed at the results. Genetic counseling is tailored to the age of the patient, and testing is not recommended before age 25.

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