September is gynecologic cancer and ovarian cancer awareness month.
Some women are more likely than others to come down with a gynecologic cancer. Which is why genetic testing can help save lives.
Dr. Peter Johnson is the director of the Gynecologic Oncology clinic at Aurora BayCare Medical Center.
There are several types of gynecological cancers that can strike a woman, “The most common type of gynecologic cancer is endometrial but the most deadly is ovarian,” Said Peter Johnson, gynocologic oncologist, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.
Dr. Johnson says its important for women to know the signs of ovarian cancer including filling up faster when eating, bloating, “Marked change in bowel or bladder habits again persistent day after day or pain with this,” said Dr. Johnson.
If you have any of these symptoms see your doctor. And some women are more at risk than others, “The number one risk factor for ovarian cancer is a family history of this. Actually stronger is having the gene the BRCA 1 gene breast cancer related,” said Dr. Johnson.
If so Doctor Johnson recommends they get genetic counseling, “It can help other family members and it will help them that it puts them at risk for other types of cancers if they have the cancer of this particular gene,” said Dr. Johnson.
Amy Schoenebeck is a genetic counselor at Aurora BayCare’s Genetic Counseling Clinic, “It would be helping to figure out what types of cancer could that person be at an increased risk for.”
Genetic counseling is typically covered by insurance and is as simple as having an interview and blood test, “DNA is a set of instructions the testing is a blood test so they are looking at specific genes or those instructions looking for mistakes or typos making those instructions not work properly,” said Schoenebeck.
If someone is found to be predisposed– then doctors can take preventative measures,”Generally if someone has the BRCA 1 we recommend an oophorectomy the removal of the ovaries and tubes,” explained Dr. Johnson.
“And then the benefit to figure out can we do something to reduce those risks or find that cancer as early and treatable as possible,” said Schoenebeck.
“Genetic testing will help save lives,” said Dr. Johnson.
50-thousand woman will be diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer in the us this year.