Pink Week: Genetics Testing Can Help Prevent Chemo, Cancer - - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Pink Week: Genetics Testing Can Help Prevent Chemo, Cancer

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When Susie Lovett was diagnosed with breast cancer she had a lot running through her mind.

"How am I gonna work, how am I gonna take care of things I need to take care of?" she wondered.

Her job is important to her and when she heard she might not need chemotherapy she was eager to make sure.

"I didn't want to be sick. I wanted to go about my day and live my normal life."

So she got genetic counseling and a test to determine how likely her cancer would return based on gene mutations.

At a follow up appointment, the doctor has good news.

"Your risk of this coming back at about a 10-year period is about nine percent so that's considered low risk category," her doctor said.

Five to 10 percent of breast cancer is caused by a genetic mutation. It's why knowing your family tree is so important.

"We all have a notion of our family history. If you're susceptible to breast cancer and a woman has breast cancer at a young age, then I think the genetic testing is appropriate," said Dr. Maria Blazo with Scott & White Oncology.

It's not just for survivors, the test is for women who haven't had cancer, too.

"If you have a family history of two or more relatives with breast cancer I strongly recommend you talk to your provider," Blazo said.

They take a vial of blood from the patient and ship it off to a lab in Utah. Results come back in 2-3 weeks.

Women whose genes make them susceptible to cancer have a number of options: They can screen with an early breast MRI, they can monitor for ovarian cancer danger, they can go through medical therapies to prevent chemo in the future and  if danger is very high they can have preventative surgery.

"I was really worried about this appointment - will I have to have chemo, will I not. I feel great," Susie said.

Thanks to the test results, after radiation, Susie will just have to take one pill a day. But even without chemo it hasn't been an easy few months.

She says family and friends have helped her keep going and live with a strength beyond measure - a phrase inscribed on a bracelet she now wears, along with two of her closest friends.

"The three of us have worn them through this whole journey. And these words have gotten me through some really rough times," she said.

Showing life goes on as long as, like Susie, you 'fight like a girl.'

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