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 in my brother, father and grandfather was well documented. Finding out that I was positive for a gene mutation causing Lynch syndrome gave me some piece of mind and set my course towards more thorough screening. I started seeing a high risk oncologist and we made a management plan. That plan helped with finding my kidney tumor early, so the surgery was minimal and there were no residual effects. That plan also prepared me for my oldest son’s genetic testing.

Much like the conversation I had with my oncologist, I now have conversations with other parents with hereditary cancer about when to test their children.  Should it be before or after age 18, when they are adults and can make their own decisions?  I always answer that question with another question - what will you and your children do once they know the results? When my oldest son tested positive for Lynch syndrome at age 18, we were prepared.  He already knew my screening regimen, and since all of my kids have known me as a survivor, in every sense of the word, he knew that it wasn’t a death sentence - not even close. My oncologist assured him that, just like his father, she would look after him every step of the way. She didn’t sugar coat anything and said to him, “In all likelihood, you will have cancer, potentially at a young age like your father.” It was emotional, but she set the plan, and we left knowing what was ahead.

Ironically, my son had written about being tested for Lynch syndrome in his college entrance essays. At the time of submissions, he was unaware of his genetic testing result. He thought it better as a “cliffhanger.” Obviously the apple didn’t fall from the tree in his perspective either.  Since learning that he has Lynch syndrome, my oldest son has had two clear scopes and a clear set of CT’s (imaging tests).  He talks about it with his younger brothers, so that they’re prepared when the time comes for them to be tested.

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The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this blog is to promote broad understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. Ambry Genetics Corporation does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions or other information that may be mentioned on this blog. Reliance on any information appearing on this blog is solely at your own risk.

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