Know Your Risk
- Bachelorette’s Becca Kufrin announced she plans to get screened to find out if she’s at higher risk of cancer.
- Kufrin lost her father to brain cancer in 2009.
- She’s encouraging others to follow suit, and learn about their possible risk.
In a lengthy and passionate message, Kufrin got real about the impact cancer has on a family including hers. Not only has Kufrin lost her father, Steve, to brain cancer in 2009, but one of her closest family friends is battling pancreatic cancer. Since her father, a first-relative, has faced cancer before, she knows she needs to be proactive about her health and plans to screen for any gene mutations which would put her at higher-risk of a diagnosis.Read More
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Let's real talk for a second and discuss how much CANCER SUCKS. Let's also highlight the importance of your health and how crucial it is for you to know what you're potentially up against when it comes to hereditary cancer. Cancer is something that runs in my bloodline, whether it's breast, brain, melanoma or leukemia, it's something I've seen far too often in so many members of my family. And I know from my previous posts about my father's death that many of you can relate. This week is National Hereditary Cancer Week, so I'm taking a proactive step to screen myself to know what potential genetic mutations I might have that cause or predispose me to certain kinds of cancer. I'm also urging my family and friends to do the same because I want everyone, including my beautiful niece to live the longest, happiest, most meaningful life possible. Knowledge is power and I'd be thrilled if anyone joined me to help spread awareness, take actionable steps to protect your health, and become a #previvor. . . Shoutout to my amazing doctor @eggwhisperer who informed me of the importance of prescreening for hereditary cancers and being my champion to help me know what I'm potentially up against.
In addition to screening herself, Kufrin is urging others to follow suit. Early detection and knowing your risk is important, so Kufrin’s advice is something to definitely pay attention to.
Genetics & Cancer Risk
It’s worth noting that just because someone in your family has faced cancer doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll also be diagnosed. However, information is power, and knowing your family history can be extremely helpful in evaluating your risk. About 10% of cancers are hereditary, and experts recommend people get screened especially if they have family members who have faced especially rare cancers.
“As we head into this very exciting time of personalized medicine, new knowledge about genetics has really provided a road map for us to improve our treatments,” Dr. Beth Karlan, a gynecologic oncologist at UCLA Medical Center, tells SurvivorNet. “Genetic testing can provide you, empower you with such important information and direct you to actions and screening tests that can save your life by finding cancers even earlier.”
Experts also suggest visiting a genetic counselor if it’s possible, who will be able decide which type of genetic testing is best for you. Genetic counselors are typically available at cancer centers in large, metropolitan cities but if you’re not able to travel, try searching online or getting a referral from a friend.
“Most insurance companies do cover genetic testing, especially if you do have some of these concerning features in your family history, whether they be family histories of cancers or concerning personal histories,” Rachel Webster, a Genetic Counselor at MD Anderson Cancer Center, tells SurvivorNet. “Genetic testing is probably the easiest test you have ever had in a cancer center. It is one tube of blood or a vial full of saliva.”