Monday, 20 May 2013

There is More To Familial Cancer Than Angelina Jolie's Double Mastectomy. Take a Deep Breath And Read On

If you have no idea about familial cancer, it is cancer that one is likely to inherit from one's family. So, if one has a strong family history of cancer, the person is likely to get affected. Angelina Jolie too were worried about this inhering-cancer-from-family thing, and got herself tested.

Turned out, she was at a very high risk of developing breast as well as ovarian cancer (Ovarian cancer is a cancerous growth arising from the ovary. The ovary is an ovum-producing reproductive organ, often found in pairs as part of the vertebrate female reproductive system). Surgery was found to be the best thing that she could do to reduce her chances of developing cancer. So, she underwent double mastectomy, which refers to the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely; her chances of developing breast cancer have now dropped from 87% to under 5%.

In the New York Times op-ed where Jolie first spoke about her surgery, she talked about the “faulty” gene that can cause both breast and ovarian cancer. However, the genes are not to be blamed; in fact, these genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) help stop cancers from developing. As a matter of fact, everyone has two copies of BRCA1 and BRCA2; it's only when one of the copies has some sort of fault and doesn't work, the person faces a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Is there anything for you here?

If you're worried about the risk of developing breast cancer or ovarian cancer because of a family history of cancer, you should immediately discuss this with your doctor. He/she may refer you to a Familial Cancer Centre. Services that a Familial Cancer Centre offers typically include testing, medical advice, counseling, and support.

The specialists will go through your family history; based on the tests, you'll be given an estimate of your inherited risk of cancer. Follow-up and options for early detection and prevention will be discussed.

Your first appointment may last for an hour. You may need to visit the centre more than once.

At Max Healthcare, we've state-of-the-art facilities and best of doctors for familial cancer. Book an appointment now!