Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013
Earlier this year, actress Angelina Jolie underwent a radical bilateral mastectomy after learning she was a carrier for the BRCA1 gene mutation. Before her decision, Jolie had an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer by the time she reached age 70; women positive for BRCA1 and BRCA2 also have a 44 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer. For the Hollywood star, health and longevity superseded vanity.
Jolie’s mother died from ovarian cancer at the age of 56 in 2007. This family history prompted the actress to consider screening and take surgical action with her motivation her young children she wants to watch grow.
You don’t have to be a celebrity to get Jolie’s treatment. In Acadiana, BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene testing is just as important to local women (and men). Research shows 7 percent of breast cancer and 11-15 percent of ovarian cancers are caused by mutations in these genes, according to Myriad Genetics, one of the leaders in hereditary genetic testing. While women are the primary target for breast cancer, men can also develop the illness, and both can be candidates for testing.
Dr. Henry J. Kaufman IV, a surgical oncologist and general surgeon, treats an array of patients in his practice, but a majority of his cancer patients have breast cancer. Kaufman has practiced since 2005 at Lafayette General Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center and Park Place Surgical Hospital and has screened many of his patients for genetic mutation. He follows the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines: any of his breast cancer patients under age 50 with a primary relative having a history of breast cancer or those under age 45 with breast cancer receive the test no matter their family history. In both instances, most insurance companies will cover the minimally invasive lab test of an oral swab.
Many of Kaufman’s patients test negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2, but he recalls a few years ago a female patient in her 30s testing positive for the mutation. Although the patient followed the initial plan of care — a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy — the test results, which came later, prompted her to also undergo a more aggressive bilateral mastectomy with immediate surgical breast reconstruction. “We were able to take care of the cancer and then take care of her emotions and allow her to make the best decision,” Kaufman says. Later, the patient decided to undergo a removal of her ovaries and continues to receive colonoscopies to monitor her increased chances of developing ovarian or colorectal cancer.
According to Kaufman, there is also a trend to monitor BRCA1/BRCA2-positive patients for development of pancreatic cancer. “The biggest misconception is BRCA1 and BRCA2 [screening] is just for breast cancer — it’s a defect in a cancer suppressing gene,” stresses Kaufman. According to Kaufman, anyone meeting the NCCN guidelines whose cancer predates the BRCA1 and BRCA2 screening should also be tested.
“A woman now in her 50s might have had breast cancer in her 30s before [genetic testing]. She should consider testing to help herself and possibly her offspring,” Kaufman says.
In other words, it’s never too late to detect possible mutations from a past cancer to help loved ones prevent future cancers thanks to improvements in genetic research.
• Have you had breast cancer at age 50 or younger?
• Have you had ovarian cancer at any age?
• Are you a male who had breast cancer at any age?
• Are you of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and have a family history of breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancer?
• Two cases of breast cancer in the same person or on the same side of the family
• Someone diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at any age
• Someone diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and a hereditary-associated cancer (same person or on the same side of the family)
• Three or more family members with breast cancer on the same side of the family
• Any family member who tested positive for the BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation
Source: Myriad Genetics
Congratulations to Stella Theriot and seven friends who will enjoy a private dinner hosted by INDEats and EatLafayette
The City-Parish Council on Tuesday will be asked to sign off on an agreement between UL Lafayette and Lafayette Consolidated Government that would expand mass transit opportunities for UL students by adding five additional buses to its shuttle run between Cajun Field and campus.
Four bedroom traditional or three bedroom French home
Louisiana's high school seniors are making increased strides on Advanced Placement exams.
The hip little River Ranch shop will open in the Acadiana Center for the Arts in time for the September ArtWalk.
Hot prints and cool wolves
The Alabama game is sold out but tickets for all other homes games can be purchased online at www.LSUtix.net.
Among the one-percenters nationally, Louisiana's fattest cat is a relative pauper.
The Republican governor sent a letter Thursday to the president, saying placement of the children in Louisiana could have "potential negative ramifications."
Many laws are minor, though some impact health care options, change educational programs and reach into people's everyday activities.
Responding to Tuesday’s federal appeals court decision to save Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic, Esquire magazine profiles the unique story behind one of the doctors working at the clinic in Jackson.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lafayette’s first-ever Whole Foods Market will open its doors in September.
In reacting to the recently resurrected allegations of sexual abuse among local clergy, is the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette maintaining its old stance of protecting their own?
Louisiana's annual state sales tax holiday is Friday and Saturday.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
Breakfast favorites served on a bubbly crust pair with a crisp salad
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State Rep. Lenar Whitney — one of a handful of Republican candidates vying for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional district — has been described by Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman as one of the most “frightening or fact-averse candidate[s]” he’s ever met following her reaction to an interview last week.
West coast casual
Mid-August hearing dates have been set for dueling lawsuits over Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards in public schools.
An investigation into the last-minute passage of a pension hike for the state police superintendent continues, despite Col. Mike Edmonson's decision not to accept the increase.
Four bedroom traditional Youngsville home or three bedroom traditional Broussard home
On Tuesday, a three judge panel (voting two to one) of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down as unconstitutional Mississippi’s controversial law requiring that physicians who perform abortions maintain admitting privileges in a nearby hospital.
Safety Jairus Byrd practiced with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday for the first time since his signing in March.
Sentencing has been delayed for a businessman who provided key testimony in the corruption case that resulted in the conviction of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
The spectre of priest sex abuse has returned to haunt the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette following the recent release of an investigative report by Minnesota Public Radio, revealing new allegations of another child predator hiding behind the clerical collar.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
A ballpark snack topped with BBQ meat can be found cruising town on a food truck
"Although the administration is moving forward with climate change regulations at home, we don't consider how policy decisions in the United States impact greenhouse gas emissions in other parts of the world," says Roger Martella, the former general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.