Genetic testing for the BRCA gene is helping women better know their risk for breast cancer. Dr. Gregory Crane with The University of Kansas Cancer Center says more and more doctors are recommending women with a history of breast cancer get screened, even if they’ve never been diagnosed. The genetic screening is now more accessible and more affordable.
Identical twin sisters Metta Siebert and Hanna Thompson, who was part of the 2012 Olympic Silver Medal winning fencing team, were diagnosed with breast cancer within weeks of each other. They have a deep history of breast cancer in their family but it just didn’t dawn on them that it could happen to them. In Hanna’s case she had noticed a lump, but she was breast feeding at the time and thought it was a clogged milk duct. But when Metta called her sister with the news that she had breast cancer, she knew she needed to get checked out. A trip to the doctor confirmed that she also had cancer.
In the video, Dr. Crane says it’s rare to see this with identical twins but that often times the reason sisters, mothers and aunts find out they too have cancer is because the initial relative diagnosis prompts them to get checked as well, like in Metta and Hanna’s case. Dr. Crane recommends that anyone with a history of breast cancer to get checked for the BRCA gene. Know this can help doctors better get a handle on your possible future treatment. Hanna and Metta talk about how they both plan to have double mastectomies and oophorectomies to remove both breast and their ovaries. This will dramatically reduce their risk for future cancers. The video also shows Metta receiving treatment at The KU Cancer Center.