• By David Dubin
  • Posted March 30, 2017

Since You Asked, Here's My Advice to Cancer Patients

In my role as co-founder of AliveAndKickn, people ask me for my opinion all the time.  Topics range from how to manage pain, how to navigate post-cancer survivorship, to whether or not the U.S. will ever become a world soccer powerhouse.  (No, I’m not kidding.)  I’m not big on giving advice, but I try to answer as honestly as I can.   First, …


  • By Kory Jasperson, MS,CGC
  • Posted March 23, 2017

How Expert Care Teams Can Help You - Repost

Editor’s Note: In recognition of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, we are re-posting this piece by an Ambry genetic counselor. His many years of clinical experience working with families affected by hereditary colorectal cancer helped him understand the importance of expert care teams, and how they can help you. My name is …


  • By Jackie Connor
  • Posted March 14, 2017

Four Reasons Why Genetic Testing Matters to the Individual with Colorectal Cancer

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States, and more than 95,000 new cases of colon cancer and 39,000 new cases of rectal cancer are estimated for 2017, according to the American Cancer Society. Up to 10% of colorectal cancer is hereditary, or caused by inherited gene mutations. Hereditary …


  • By Selvi Palaniappan, MS, CGC
  • Posted March 9, 2017

Individual Genetic Test Results Lead to Individual Considerations

As a genetic counselor specializing in cancer genetics, I’m happy to be contributing to the Ambry patient blog during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer can happen by chance, but it can also be inherited. Your doctor or genetic counselor can evaluate your family history to determine if you should consider genetic testing …


  • By Georgia Hurst
  • Posted March 2, 2017

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month- Do you Know About Lynch Syndrome?

In honor of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, I would like to discuss the most common cause of hereditary colorectal and uterine cancer – Lynch syndrome. In fact, this post is dedicated to my brother Jimmy, who died of colon cancer due to Lynch syndrome at the age of 36. Lynch syndrome is a hereditary cancer condition passed down …


  • By Dr. Dennis J Ahnen
  • Posted December 8, 2016

Here’s To Our Families

I am, appropriately, finishing this post on Family Health History Day (the fourth Thursday in November, formerly known as Thanksgiving in the U.S.). The holidays are traditionally a time to get together with family, and what better time to focus on the importance of the health history? In this spirit, I thought we could focus on how a discussion …


  • By David Dubin
  • Posted November 3, 2016

Just Call Me “Above Average Dave”

“Superhero.” Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Flattering, obviously. As someone who has survived multiple cancers, still plays and coaches soccer, had his colonoscopy footage used on national television, and does a lot of public work, I’ve been given a few titles. One of them is superhero. Thanks. But I worry that people, especially …


  • By Travis Bray
  • Posted August 22, 2016

Kicking and Screaming

Dealing with test results, as one would imagine, is solely and sorely dependent on the results. Writing about what’s it’s like for a doctor to say that there’s nothing wrong would produce a very short blog post. It would basically go like this: Doctor: “You’re fine… all clear.” Me: “Cool… see you next year, Doc.” Being sick, …


  • By Deepti Babu, MS, CGC
  • Posted August 17, 2016

The Buddy System: It works for Hereditary Cancer, Too

We’ve covered a lot of territory with this blog, so thank you for coming on the ride with us. Theresa Smith talked about her experience of sharing her genetic test results with her family, and we offered a genetic counselor’s perspective on the same idea. This time, we’re focusing more on you – we’re exploring the idea of building …


  • By Kory Jasperson, MS,CGC
  • Posted August 15, 2016

Help Researchers Help You

Participating in research is one of the most powerful ways patients can make a difference in advancing scientific discovery. This is especially true for individuals who have a rare disease, such as a hereditary cancer syndrome. It can be very rewarding to know that you might be able to contribute to the advancement of science. However, research …


  • By Carin Espenschied
  • Posted August 3, 2016

How Laws Protect Genetic Information

There are many different things to consider when deciding whether to have genetic testing.  In addition to the impact of the test results on your physical and emotional health and that of your family members (more on that here), you should also consider your insurance coverage and the possibility of discrimination. When I met with patients …


  • By Georgia Hurst
  • Posted August 1, 2016

Possible and Unexpected Outcomes of Genetic Testing- Benefits of Having a Knowledgeable Healthcare Provider

In my opinion, as an advocate for those with hereditary cancer syndromes, undergoing genetic testing without the guidance of a certified genetic counselor ge·net·ic coun·sel·or A healthcare professional with specialized graduate training in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. Genetic counselors provide information and support to …


  • By Carin Espenschied
  • Posted July 27, 2016

A Few Words on Colectomies

As a genetic counselor, I cannot go into a lot of detail regarding what it’s like to have a colectomy, but I want to provide a little bit of background to Travis’ fantastic and very frank post, this week. A colectomy is a surgery to remove the large intestine, or colon.  A colectomy may be used as part of the treatment for someone who …


  • By Travis Bray
  • Posted July 25, 2016

Some Things Change...Some Don't

As I write this, I am aboard a plane returning home from Baltimore following a meeting with the Food and Drug Administration. Joined by a panel of experts in hereditary colon cancer, including Steve Erdman, MD (Pediatric gastroenterologist; The Ohio State University College of Medicine), Heather Hampel, MS, CGC (Genetic counselor; The Ohio …


  • By Deepti Babu, MS, CGC
  • Posted July 20, 2016

It's Complicated: Sharing Your Genetic Test Results

I feel funny writing about sharing genetic test results with family when I’ve never done it myself, but don’t let that stop you from reading… I’ll draw upon my years in the clinic as a genetic counselor,  speaking to many families about this topic, and offer thoughts from my side of the table. I have seen that it’s complicated for …


  • By David Dubin
  • Posted July 18, 2016

Sharing The Story With the World, Starting With Family

People often have a Utopian set of expectations whenever family reunions take place.  They envision a Rockwell painting where kids behave and adults get along.  In reality, you’re getting together with family you may or may not have seen in months, if not longer, and the actual reunion may not meet these expectations.  Often, one or more people …


  • By Dr. Dennis J Ahnen
  • Posted July 6, 2016

Colonoscopy: What to Expect, Plus a Few Tips

Colonoscopy is central to the care plan for families with hereditary colorectal cancer (CRC) syndromes, as Georgia Hurst mentioned in her earlier post. Colonoscopic screening is the major means for prevention and early detection of CRC in this setting. It is worth highlighting what you can and should expect when getting a colonoscopy.   It …


  • By Georgia Hurst
  • Posted July 4, 2016

Adjusting to Frequent Colonoscopies

I have Lynch syndrome and a strong family history of early onset colon cancer. Therefore, I must have annual colonoscopies. After my brother died at the age of 36 from colon cancer, I gladly began having colonoscopies every couple of years – way before I even knew I had Lynch syndrome. Just last month I had my 14th colonoscopy and had …


  • By Emily Dalton, MS, CGC
  • Posted June 29, 2016

Importance of Family History in Genetic Diagnosis

We’ve all heard that genetics plays a big role in the development of cancer, including both your individual genetics and changes acquired over your lifetime, as well as the genetics of what may be running in your family. Family history is one of the most important tools that providers use when estimating your lifetime risk to develop cancer, …


  • By David Dubin
  • Posted June 28, 2016

Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Family Tree

My family history has played a huge part in the perception of cancer awareness from a number of facets.  The most notable way is the perception that colon cancer is an “old man’s disease.”  While I may be older now, the fact that I was 29 when I developed colon cancer (the first time) makes people stop and think, even if they don’t …


  • By Carin Espenschied
  • Posted June 22, 2016

Decisions, Decisions: What To Consider When Deciding On Risk Reducing Surgery

If you have been diagnosed with an inherited colorectal cancer syndrome, your healthcare provider may have recommended that you consider having risk reducing surgery. Risk reducing colectomy is the removal of part (partial colectomy) or all (total colectomy) of the colon to reduce the risk of developing future cancer.  Risk reducing hysterectomy …


  • By Georgia Hurst
  • Posted June 20, 2016

Approaching Surgical Decisions as a Previvor of a Hereditary Colon Cancer Syndrome

With the increase in genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes, many women, especially those under the age of 50, are undergoing prophylactic surgeries in order to prevent cancer. While the surgeries may drastically reduce one’s chances of developing cancer to a particular area or organ, these surgeries are not to be minimized as they …


  • By Dr. Dennis J Ahnen
  • Posted June 15, 2016

Why is Increased Screening Recommended In Hereditary Colorectal Cancer Syndromes? Why is it Important and What Screening Can Be Done?

You may have wondered why cancer-screening recommendations for individuals with a known hereditary colorectal cancer(CRC) syndrome are so much different than those recommended for individuals with no strong family history of cancer.  Compared to average-risk screening, the recommendations for cancer screening in the hereditary CRC syndromes …


  • By Travis Bray
  • Posted June 13, 2016

Is it THAT Time of Year, Again?!?

Pity is usually available only in short supply in my family. We’re very much a “Life’s hard…wear a helmet” group of people. That’s not to say that we don’t care for each other, because we definitely do. We just don’t see any point in sitting on the ground, looking at a skinned elbow, and lamenting the fact that we fell. My mom …


  • By David Dubin
  • Posted June 7, 2016

Half Full

Receiving genetic test results is never an easy process. It’s human nature to be concerned about the unexpected, especially when it can affect your future so significantly. When I had genetic testing back in 2007, it was almost a formality. I had coloncancer twice already, by the time I had genetic testing, my family history of colon cancer …


  • By Georgia Hurst
  • Posted June 6, 2016

The Importance of Genetic Counseling With Genetic Testing

As I sit in the hereditary cancer trenches, I see the negative effects of genetic testing sans certified genetic counseling every single day – and it is an enormous problem. Many of the fears and concerns that people discuss with me could be addressed and ameliorated simply if they spoke with a certified genetic counselor before …


  • By Jessica Profato
  • Posted June 6, 2016

What Do Genetic Counselors Do?

My name is Jessica Profato-Partlow. I am a relatively new member of the Ambry Genetics family, and very excited to be a part of our hereditary cancer patient website. As a clinical genetic counselor prior to joining Ambry, I spent several years providing hereditarycancer genetic counseling services to many families at a busy cancer hospital. …


  • By Emily Dalton, MS, CGC
  • Posted May 25, 2016

When To Test Children For Hereditary Colorectal Cancer

Hello, and welcome to my very first blog post! I’m thrilled to be working with my fellow providers and advocates to spread the word about hereditary colorectal cancer. Prior to starting my work with Ambry 2.5 years ago, I worked as a clinical cancer genetic counselor at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and specialized in hereditary gastrointestinal …


  • By David Dubin
  • Posted May 23, 2016

I have Lynch syndrome: the genetic predisposition to colon, endometrial, and other cancers…and soccer.

I tell a good story. I’ve been given a certain set of genes. One set of genes has caused me and much of my family to endure multiple tumors.  Another set has given me the gift of storytelling, whether in print or in front of a microphone.  My name is David Dubin, and along with my wife Robin, I am the co-founder of AliveAndKickn, a foundation …


  • By Travis Bray
  • Posted May 18, 2016

A Brief History of Travis Bray

My story is one familiar to many in our community… but with a twist. Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) started in my family when my grandfather was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer at the age of 36. Three of his six children, including my father, were later found to have FAP. My mom suspected I had FAP as a toddler, although I wasn’t …


  • By Kory Jasperson, MS,CGC
  • Posted May 18, 2016

How Expert Care Teams Can Help You

My name is Kory Jasperson. If you asked my friends or family to tell you something about me, they’d probably tell you I’m an adrenaline junkie. They all know how much I love jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, off the tops of buildings, and even off the peaks of mountains or cliffs. Although some of my colleagues may reiterate the …


  • By Carin Espenschied
  • Posted May 16, 2016

Adding Gastrointestinal Cancer Topics to our Blog

My name is Carin and I’m a genetic counselor at Ambry Genetics. I’ve been working at Ambry for about 2½ years and before that I worked as a clinical genetic counselor seeing patients at a cancer hospital for over six years. I have always had a special interest in hereditary gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. Gastrointestinal cancers, …


  • By Georgia Hurst
  • Posted May 9, 2016

No Mud, No Lotus

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh believes if people face and embrace their suffering, they will eventually grow from it and possibly turn it into something beautiful and meaningful... Hence the phrase: No mud, no lotus. Five years ago after I was diagnosed with Lynch syndrome, I found myself mired in mud – I had no idea what would emerge …