Genetic Cancer Testing

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Shannon & Kyla Harris come from a family history of breast cancer. Their grandmother, mother, aunt and cousin have all died from breast cancer and at each generation they passed away at a younger and younger age.  Their grandmother was in her 70's, their mother and aunt in their 50's and most recently their cousin was in her late 30's. To take action of their own fate they both decided to visit St. Joseph's Comprehensive Cancer Center and talk to a genetic counselor about their options. 

St. Joseph's Comprehensive Cancer Center gives genetic cancer testing for those who have had cancer or have a history of cancer in their family. The test consists of a blood test, that's it. After the results you meet back up with the genetic counselor and doctors to review your options. The goal of the researchers, doctors, oncology nurses and staff of the Cancer Center is to treat cancer at its earliest stage, the best defense is early detection. Combined with advanced technology and a trained compassionate staff, the cancer center provides not only testing for early detection but counseling and support for the patients next steps. 

After meeting with the genetic counselor and hearing the options both of the Harris sisters decided to have the genetic cancer test. Kyla, age 19 tested negative for the cancer gene while Shannon age 24 tested positive. After reviewing her options Shannon decided to have a bilateral mastectomy. Some people who have heard her story think she took an extreme measure too early, but having lived to see her grandmother, mother, aunt and cousin die of breast cancer this was an easy decision for her. She has a daughter and wants to see her daughter grow up and meet her grandchildren and not worry about when she's going to detect that bump in her breast that may become breast cancer. Shannon's results statistically gave her an 88% chance of getting breast cancer.

One piece of advice that both Harris sisters would give to everyone is to just go and get tested, the younger the better.

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