Kevin and Eniko Hart Will Soon Welcome Baby Girl
- Kevin Hart’s mother, Nancy, died of ovarian cancer in 2007
- In 15% of cases, ovarian cancer is linked to the BRCA gene mutation
- Genetic testing is recommended for all patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer
- Test results can guide treatment and inform family members of genetic risks
Hart celebrated his 40th birthday on July 6 (below) and he and Eniko marked their fourth wedding anniversary last week.
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The couple has a two-year-old son; and Hart has a daughter, Heaven, 15, and son Hendrix, 12, from his marriage to Torrei Hart.
“May you always know baby girl,” Eniko Hart, 35, shared in a heartfelt message for her unborn daughter, “that you were wished for, longed for, prayed for, and will forever be LOVED.”
A Genetic Link?
Hart’s mother, Nancy Hart, died of ovarian cancer in January 2007 at age 56. About 15% of ovarian cancers are linked to gene changes — known as mutations — that can be passed down through families.
The most common genetic cause of ovarian cancer is a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, which also significantly increases the risk of breast cancer.
A healthy BRCA gene helps to repair damaged DNA and ensure the stability of the cell’s genetic material. When the BRCA gene mutates, DNA damage goes unchecked and can eventually allow damaged cells to become cancerous.
Kevin Hart bears more than a passing resemblance to his mother, Nancy Hart, who he’s said, shaped his work strong work ethic. She died of ovarian cancer at age 56 in 2007. photo source: Netflix.
Immediate family members of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer may benefit from genetic testing. If they find they carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, it may be recommended that they begin undergoing more frequent screening tests for breast and ovarian cancer.
Nancy Hart: Fan Favorite
When Hart’s docuseries, “Kevin Hart: Don’t F**k This Up,” debuted on NetFlix in December, the late Nancy Hart earned the admiration of her son’s fans. Hart credits her with keeping him “too busy to get into trouble” when he was young.
His father, Henry Witherspoon, a lung cancer survivor who now lives with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is also featured in the docuseries. But Hart says his strongest parental bond was with Nancy, who raised him and his brother on her own.
All women diagnosed with ovarian cancer should undergo genetic testing, says Dr. Ursula Matulonis, Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“She had more strength and fight in her than any woman I’ve ever met,” says Hart.
Although Nancy Hart worked as a systems analyst at the University of Pennsylvania, the family struggled financially. Still, Hart remembers her making Christmas special for her young sons (below). She was also a “beast,” Hart says proudly.
“She had this thing where she would look at you and she would let you see her smile fade. It would put the fear of God into anyone.”
“My mom was very excited about putting me on the swim team,” he added, “cause she just couldn’t think of a criminal that ever swam.”
Genetic Testing For Ovarian Cancer
“Patients [who] seek genetic counseling want to know if there is something they could have passed on to their children or other family members,” says Sheryl Walker, a cancer genetic counselor at Genome Medical in Dallas, Texas.
Walker says are two primary categories for ovarian cancer genetic testing: hereditary genetic testing and somatic genetic testing.
Hereditary Genetic Testing
Hereditary genetic testing can inform women of their own risks as well as the cancer risks that their family members may face. “It doesn’t matter if we looked at a skin cell, a breast cell, a colon cell,” says Walker.
Dr. Beth Karlan, Director of the Women’s Cancer Program at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, explains ovarian cancer and how it begins. Because of its subtle symptoms, doctors often call it, “the cancer that whispers.”
“We would find that mutation, that hereditary mutation that’s been passed generally from a parent to a child.”
Somatic Genetic Testing
The other category of genetic testing is called “somatic” genetic testing. It looks at the gene mutations present in the ovarian cancer tumor itself. When testing identifies these “driver mutations” doctors can customize their approach to treatment.
“And that makes sense,” Walker says. “Because we don’t want to just say, all right, we’re going to just throw this chemotherapy at every single ovarian cancer patient and hope that it works for everyone. Because every person is different. Every cancer is different. Every tumor is different.”
Too Few Get Tested: Why This Needs to Change
“All patients that have ovarian cancer meet criteria for genetic testing, 100%,” says Walker. “Unfortunately, only about 30% of patients with ovarian cancer ever actually proceed with genetic testing, which is a very unfortunate statistic.”
According to Walker, there are three main reasons that women with ovarian cancer should get genetic testing.
- Genetic testing can help women better understand why they developed ovarian cancer in the first place. Inherited risk — which is evaluated during a genetic test — is responsible for as many as 15% of cases.
- Secondly, if a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she may have a gene mutation that puts her at an increased risk for additional cancers, including breast and colon cancer. .
- Third, genetic testing information can be relayed to family members who may want to get tested to assess their own risk.