Up and Down the Family Tree:
How genetic testing helped one patient dodge cancer,con't
The Cancer Genetics Clinic often works with patients who have a personal or family history of cancer.
Photo by Edda Pacifico
"From my perspective, your genetics are up and down your family tree," she says. "Genetic testing has enabled me to impact
my family in ways that are very important to me. I am avoiding cancer, which my cousin wasn’t able to do. I value my life
more than those individual organs I had removed."
Wishart's other children, ages 11 and 13, are too young to be tested for Lynch Syndrome. The family openly discusses Lynch
and cancer so they will be able to make the decision whether or not to be tested for the Lynch mutation once they are young adults.
"The fear of knowing can be so strong for people," Wishart says. "I feel like knowing gives you strength."
Is genetic testing right for you? What doctors look for before recommending
- cancer at an early age
- one person with multiple primary cancers
- cancer in both paired organs or more
than one tumor in an organ
- the same type of cancer in close relatives
- cancer in multiple generations of a family
- rare tumors
- unusual presentation of cancer, such as
male breast cancer