The Benefits of Genetic Testing

June 26, 2018
The Benefits of Genetic Testing

Natalie Rhoden prepares the 3D mammography equipment for the next patient.

In her role at Manatee Diagnostic Center, Natalie Rhoden performs mammography, bone density and X-ray procedures on people every day. During the course of her patient interactions, she always asks the patient about having a family history of breast or other cancers, and educates them about genetic testing, a service offered at the facility. She knows firsthand the importance of regular screenings and the benefit of genetic testing.

Rhoden, 39, who has a family history of three maternal family members with colon cancer all under 50, as well as two maternal aunts with breast cancer under 60, decided to undergo genetic testing. This panel checks for the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genetic mutations, which are known to increase the risk of breast cancer. While she was waiting for the results, Rhoden also had her screening mammogram. It revealed abnormalities, which required additional imaging.

“Everything came together at once. Based on the additional breast imaging, I needed a stereotactic breast biopsy,” says Rhoden. “After the biopsy results came back, I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), stage 0.” Then Rhoden learned the results of the genetic test — she had the BRCA-2 mutation. “Because I was BRCA-2 positive, I chose to have a double mastectomy, and since my lymph nodes were not affected, I did not need chemotherapy or radiation. The surgery also reduced my chances of a cancer reoccurrence from 87 percent to one percent,” she says.

If a woman or man is interested in the criteria for genetic testing, Nurse Navigator Jenny Brown, RN, can guide them through the process. Rhoden explains that all four Manatee Diagnostic facilities in Bradenton and Arcadia, Manatee Memorial Hospital Breast Care Center and Lakewood Ranch Medical Center Breast Health Center have the genetic testing onsite.

Who Should Consider Genetic Testing?

You could have an increased risk of having the BRCA gene mutation if you have a personal or family history of:

  • Breast cancer diagnosed at/under the age of 50.
  • Ovarian cancer at any age.
  • Two or more primary breast cancers.
  • Male breast cancer at any age.
  • Triple negative breast cancer.
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with breast or ovarian cancer.
  • A known BRCA mutation in the family.
  • Three or more family members of any age diagnosed with breast, ovarian, pancreatic, or aggressive prostate cancer.

If you have questions about testing, please contact our Nurse Navigator Jenny Brown, RN, at 941-708-8330.

Visit Manatee Diagnostic Center to learn more about genetic testing, 3D mammography and other services offered.