Monday, April 9, 2018

The Parent has a Gene for Cancer - Should the Child Get Preventative Surgery?

The Wall Street Journal wrote a story about cases where a parent has a cancer gene and the child must decide whether or not to get preventative surgery. One case follows Dennis Reilly who lost both of his brothers to stomach cancer and made the decision to have his stomach removed after testing positive for the cancer gene at 68 years old. With his positive diagnosis in the mutation of the CDH1 gene, his daughter also tested positive for the mutation and decided to have her stomach removed as well with preventative surgery. With the rise of genetic testing, more families are able to be tested for common gene mutations likely to cause cancer and make decisions about how to deal with their diagnosis.
Dennis Reilly and his daughter Cailyn Reilly Knapp

CDH1 gene testing is becoming more common with the rise of gene testing for abnormalities in the BRCA1 genes testing for breast cancer. People with mutations in the CDH1 gene has a 55-70% risk of developing Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC) which is the deadly and aggressive form of cancer the Reilly family had inherited which is difficult to diagnose until it has already spread, and women also have a 42% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.

Another case was with 63 year old Kathy Hayes who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Years earlier, her daughter died of stage 4 breast cancer but the connection with the mutation in the HDGC gene were connected until she received her diagnosis. Many of her family members were also tested for the mutations and the results came back positive for many, leading some to have preventative surgery.

I find this article interesting because a diagnosis in one family member with a mutation can save the lives of mamy other family members who may have also inherited the cancer gene. In the case with Mrs. Hayes, it was two late for her daughter, but the connection made from her death and Mrs. Hayes diagnosis helped discover the hereditary gene mutation that lead many members of her family to get tested and get preventative surgery. I have great hopes for the growth of genetic sequencing and the access people have to be able to get tested for many different mutations that could possibly save lives.

Original Article: The Parent Has a Cancer Gene—Should the Child Get Surgery?
Related Information: Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer

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