Many breast cancer patients not offered genetic testing

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GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. - Women diagnosed with breast cancer may find that genetic testing is an important tool in helping determine treatment.

But, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows many of the patients aren’t offered genetic testing or counseling. Fewer than 30-percent of patients said they received genetic testing, but almost two thirds of them said they wanted it.

This is concerning to local genetic counselors at Invision Sally Jobe with HealthONE.

“The important thing is that we identify these women at the time of their diagnosis," said counselor Mary Freivogel. "Even though it is a very traumatic time for them, they need to be aware of the options that are available."

Freivogel says women who test positive may chose a different treatment.

“It may direct the type of surgery they chose, so instead of having a lumpectomy, they may choose to have a bilateral mastectomy," Freivogel said.

Jessica Sidener is a recently diagnosed breast cancer patient from Parker who is grateful she was offered genetic counseling at Invision Sally Jobe with HealthONE.

A blood test revealed she was negative for genetic mutations that would make her more prone to cancer.  She says the information was empowering.

“The genetic testing gave me more information that could help determine the extent of my surgery,” Sidener said.

She opted for a lumpectomy and radiation, and feels very positive about the future.