by Souzan El-Eid, MD, FACS
In the breast cancer realm, we are always advocating for early detection. And, for so many, early detection can equate to a cure. When it comes to genetic testing as it pertains to breast cancer, when we know someone is a gene carrier or has a higher risk of carrying a harmful genetic mutation (such as BRCA1 or BRCA2), we want to screen them as early as possible.
There are a number of different companies that offer testing to determine if someone is carrying a specific genetic marker. These tests have evolved over the last few years, become more comprehensive and can test patients for a number of mutations at once as a gene panel testing. In the past, these tests would test for few genes; they now check patients for more than 80 possible mutations that are associated with syndromes and cancer in the human body. Patients that had gene testing prior to 2014 should be tested with the newest technology, covering the remainder of genes that we didn’t have the ability to test for previously.
There are numerous pros to genetic examinations. First and foremost, if a test comes back negative for potentially harmful mutations, the patient may return to a regular screening regimen afterward. If a patient tests positive for a specific gene, we dive deeper with screening that applies to the specific cancers associated with that gene. Furthermore, it’s imperative for the patient’s family (women and men) to have testing as well, as they have a 50/50 chance of inheriting that gene.
With enhanced genetics technology and decreasing costs for patients (a full gene test now costs approximately $250 as cash pay without insurance coverage), there has never been a better time to be proactive.
Genetic testing is here to stay. It should be a part of a routine health screening. Screen people before developing cancer. Ten percent of cancers are gene-related, for men and women.
Schedule Your October Mammogram Today!
The Valley Health System is offering annual screening mammograms on weekdays during October 2019 for a cash price if not already a covered benefit of your insurance. Cash price includes the radiologist’s reading fee and associated test costs:
- 2D mammography screening — $90
- 3D mammography screening — $150
Call: 702-233-7337. A physician’s order is not required; self-referrals are accepted. Criteria for self-referrals:
- Screening mammography only
- Ages 40 and over
- No implants
- No history of breast problems
Call: 702-629-1155. A physician’s order is required.
Dr. Souzan El-Eid is a breast surgeon with Comprehensive Cancer Centers where she treats patients with cancer and non-cancer related diseases of the breast and has served as principal investigator for several clinical research trials. She currently serves as the Medical Director of the Breast Care Center and co-chair and co-moderator of the Breast Tumor Board at Summerlin Hospital and is a cancer liaison physician for its cancer program. Dr. El-Eid is passionate about mentoring the future generation of medical professionals. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor of General Surgery at Touro University Nevada and Adjunct Professor at UNLV School of Medicine. She was president of Clark County Medical Society from 2016 to 2017.