Genetic testing can help prevent breast cancer before it happens

Genetic testing can help prevent breast cancer before it happens

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

Dr. Sandeepa Musunuru is a general breast surgeon in Midland who uses genetic testing to find out whether her patients are at a high risk for breast cancer.

Musunuru uses MyRisk, a panel gene test where patients give a blood or saliva sample and the test will find a gene mutation. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the most common genes linked to breast cancer. Everyone has these genes but some have inherited the mutation.

"Those patients that have the gene mutation, we'd recommend it because there'd can be as high as an 87% chance of developing cancer, so this is doing the mastectomy without the diagnosis of the cancer to prevent it from happening," said Musunuru.

If a patient has the gene mutation and they turn 25, they'll have to get their mammogram and an MRI every six months.

"MRI is really sensitive so that's why it's added on for people who have the gene mutation for screening," she said.

Not everyone can go through testing since patients have to meet certain criteria like being under the age of 50 or if they have first-degree relatives like a mother or sister who have breast cancer. Patients who test positive for the mutation have a high risk of the cancer coming back, which is why they can also get a mastectomy to lower that risk.

"If anything were to be found, we would pursue that. But until that person is ready to undergo mastectomy, it's okay, you don't have to do the mastectomy right away," said Musunuru. "That's why we watch them closely and that's why we do something more than regular mammograms since they're at high risk for developing the cancer."

With a small tube and a little bit of testing, knowledge goes a long way.

"The ones that do have it, it's important to know, so it's important to test them so we find out so we can change our management for them," said Musunuru.

To see if you are eligible for testing, you can contact Dr. Sandeepa Musunuru's office located in Midland on 2405 W. Missouri Ave. at (432) 697-1061.

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