About 80% of all cancers happen because of damage to cells and their genes over a lifetime. However, some people can inherit a specific gene change that puts them at risk of getting cancer. About 5-10% of cancers are influenced by inherited gene changes.
Even if someone does not have a gene mutation, family medical history and patterns of cancer hold a wealth of information that can help to proactively address potential health concerns before they even occur. Increased surveillance following genetic testing can help identify cancer at its earliest and most treatable stage.
Certain medications are available to help decrease risks of cancer from developing and your genetic information can even qualify you for participation in clinical trials or research studies. In some cases, genetic testing results can also be helpful for patients and their care team with medical and surgical management decisions.
Genetic counseling is a unique service that we are proud to offer at Glens Falls Hospital through the C.R. Wood Cancer Center. On a personal note, I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to the hospital where I was born and provide support to the members of the wider community where I was raised.
Far too often, cancer diagnoses catch people and their loved ones by surprise. My personal goal is to empower as many people as possible with the information and support they need to make the best choices for their health care management.