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Genetic Dispositions

Breast cancer has seen a significant amount of interest being raised over the past few years, with major non-profit organizations such as Pink Ribbon International promoting awareness through venues such as the NFL and other major high-profile avenues. While awareness of the disease has never been higher, most still do not have much in-depth knowledge about it and what factors are known to influence an average person’s chances of contracting it.

Over their lifetime, roughly 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer, with over 275,000 cases diagnosed per year. Though it’s rare, roughly 1 in 883 men will also develop the disease. It’s the second most commonly diagnosed and deadly forms of cancer in women, beaten out only by skin and lung cancers, respectively.

There are a variety of different parts of the breasts that cancer can develop in, each of which has a unique prognosis – ductal (ducts that carry milk from lobes to the nipple), lobular, phyllodes, and angiosarcoma cancers all reflect the origin point of the invasive tumor. The tumors spread when a cancerous cell – a cell that will infinitely divide thanks to alterations to the genetic code – breaks off from the tumor and travels to different parts of the body through the cardiovascular or lymphatic systems.

Breast cancer has a number of different causes that can be categorized into either genetic or epigenetic. Epigenetic refers to alterations to our genetics or how they are expressed that come from forces outside of the normal cellular processes, such as radiation. Epigenetic factors range from spending too much time out in the sun, to smoking, to obesity, each of which increases chances of negative health consequences such as cancer.

Around 85% of breast cancer diagnoses are primarily due to epigenetic factors, while 15% are due to genetics. A woman’s chances of developing breast cancer are doubled when a first-degree relative such as a mother, sister, or daughter are diagnosed with the disease.

About 5-10% of breast cancers are linked to specific gene mutations that effect both men and women. Women who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations are far more susceptible to the development of invasive tumors, with chances increasing to 72% and 69% respectively for each mutation. Men with the mutation significant increase their chances of developing breast cancer going from a .1% chance increasing to a 6.8% chance, or a factor of 68.

These genetic mutations can be caught early through testing, leading to a much better prognosis. A patient who is aware of the high likelihood of developing the disease will take steps to lead a healthier lifestyle to limit epigenetic amplification of the problem, and will be more cognizant and regular in their health screenings both at home and with a physician.

With many health care providers still limiting the number of patients they can see; many would find it highly convenient to take the test at home. One option for a medicare covered breast cancer test that doesn’t require a doctor’s visit or an expensive trip to the lab is the MyConcierge at-home genetics test. The company can screen patients for genetic factors that can influence their chances of developing a variety of cancers, including breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.

The earlier you catch diseases, the better the prognosis. Genetic tests allow you to be screened for diseases before they even develop, allowing you to course correct your lifestyle to avoid the diagnosis altogether.

Safe & Proactive Healthcare: Telemedicine and Genetic Testing

Selecting the ideal solution and technology for one’s healthcare program requires training, evaluation, and research by a professional and registered provider. With the historic pandemic of COVID—19, many healthcare providers were stretched thin on-site, amplifying the need for virtual solutions to healthcare. Today, telehealth is part of the new standard of care. Many providers are finding virtual care safer and more effective than an in-person appointment. 

Telemedicine is the practice of caring for patients remotely when the patient and provider aren’t physically present with one another. Modern technology has allowed doctors to consult their patients with the help of HIPAA compliant video-conferencing tools. 

In addition, genetic testing is a process that screens an individual’s genetic material for the presence of mutations, which may cause disease. This procedure is performed by taking genetic material from cells gathered from tissue, saliva, or blood from inside the cheek. https://www.myconciergehealth.org/ provides comprehensive solutions including telemedicine and genetic lab testing, offering patients safer and better access than ever.

Man Having A Video Call On His Phone
Photo by Edward Jenner from Pexels

What are the most common diseases among Americans? 

Genetic testing can screen for common diseases that can worsen if not treated properly. 

Many of the population in the US have diabetes. Pain in the legs, extreme thirst, extreme hunger, and weight loss are symptoms of this disease. 

Obesity is a medical condition where the percentage of body fat has become so massive that it poses a risk to a person’s health. This disease affects a person’s health by making every physical activity difficult. An obese individual will suffer from shortness of breath, putting more pressure on their heart, and causing blood flow to be restricted. 

Heart disease is one of the deadliest conditions and is considered a silent killer. This condition impacts people by gradually lowering their heart’s strength, making it pump less blood at a weak pace, or causing the body to be hypertensive. 

Kidney disease is a common disease that lowers the body’s kidney function, either due to poor lifestyle choices or complications. 

How treatment and prevention can be customized to one’s genetics? 

Genetic testing can facilitate early detection of disease and prevent personal health risks when followed by proactive and prompt treatment. A genetic ancestry test can show underlying health risks that physicians might not otherwise locate. Genetic testing does not essentially determine a specific disease but may determine risk factors, which call for added, targeted testing. 

Some of the diseases that can be determined through genetic testing are obesity, parkinson’s disease, bipolar disorder, celiac disease, and breast and ovarian cancer. 

Genetic testing can be lifesaving for many patients. It provides information that helps medical providers concentrate their treatment efforts better. Further, locating high-risk categories in babies allow prenatal providers to better plan for the pediatric care the child will require at birth. Often, lifesaving interventions can be initiated while the baby is in the womb. 

Overall, telemedicine and genetic testing provide many benefits to patients and doctors, farmers, and people who want to take the utmost care of their bodies.