A section of the medical fraternity believes that if a person gets affected by any of the nearly 15 major types of cancers, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer, there are up to 10 per cent chances that his family members too would be affected by it at a later stage.
Family members of the affected patient, however, could go for early detection through “DNA Onco Screen”, a state-of-the-art genetic testing procedure which assesses one’s DNA and biochemical profile. The report of such test helps estimate one’s chance of developing cancer in the future. If results show high-risk percentage, the person concerned can begin a personalized action plan, under doctors’ prescription, as part of holistic cancer management solutions, thus taking control of their health.
Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, upon being assessed with a higher risk percentage in the gene-mutation test for breast cancer, got both her breasts removed as a preventive measure. This DNA Onco Screen procedure, introduced in the US in 2006, is making its way into Indian cities, including Hyderabad. It assesses genetic predisposition to various cancers, physiological traits known to trigger cancer, and lifestyle traits linked to cancer risk.
Key clinical markers associated with cancer are also tested. Anu Acharya, CEO of Mapmygenome, and Dr Sunitha Lingareddy, MD of Lucid Diagnostics, announced their alliance to offer this advanced, cutting-edge, personalized and comprehensive cancer screening tests at “affordable” rates to citizens of Hyderabad. “Combining clinical parameters with genomics makes it very compelling for physicians and consumers to get a comprehensive screening.
Genetics is an important part of clinical diagnostics and we are pleased to offer packages combining genomics and pathology lab services,” they said. When contacted, Dr Chinthamadaka Sai Ram, clinical oncologist at the state-owned MNJ Cancer Hospital here, stated that it is advisable that people with a family history of cancers undergo this genetic testing, preferably after crossing 35 years of age.
“A majority of people are diagnosed with cancer after completing 50 years of age. However, people having a family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer should preferably undergo this test to know the risk factor. If the test shows 60 to 80 per cent risk factor for cancer, then immediately preventive medical care could be started,” the doctor said. Dr Sai Ram said that pre-test counselling and post-test counselling are very important and should be done without fail to sensitize the person on whatever may be the outcome.
There are incidents of persons getting depressed and taking extreme steps if the test outcomes are positive and this area is where the medical team’s counselling would work wonders and would instill confidence in that person, he said.
Date of publication: February 22, 2019