Understand, Test & Plan
1. Understand what causes cancer and what may increase your risk.
2. Use the Color Test to discover cancer risk inherited from your parents.
3. Create a personalized screening plan based on the results of your Color Test.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. 40% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer as some point in their lives (cancer.gov).
What is cancer and why does it occur?
Cancer is a state of uncontrollable cell replication due to a mutation in DNA. By definition, a cancer has the potential to invade local tissue (Stages II-III) or spread to distant sites (Stage IV). The potential to invade and spread distinguishes malignant tumors [cancer] from benign ones.
So, what causes the DNA mutation that leads to this replication rampage? Great question.
The origins of cancer are multifactorial. Three major categories of mutations include: genetic, environmental and temporal.
Thanks Mom and Dad!
Half of your genetic material is inherited from your mother and the other half from your father. Inheriting a genetic mutation from a parent--such as BRCA1 or BRCA2--increases your risk for certain types of cancer. However, these mutations are by no means a guarantee of cancer; other factors such as environmental exposures and time play a significant role.
Help, your cells are under attack!
Everything causes cancer, or so it would seem. And if something is believed to be harmless, it's a matter of time before scientists establish a cancerous link.
Common environmental and lifestyle culprits include: alcohol, cigarettes, diet (e.g. processed meats), viruses (e.g. Human Papilloma Virus, Hepatitis C, HIV), UV and ionizing radiation, pollution, medications, food additives, industrial chemicals, etc. Oh, and not moving--the sedentary pastime plaguing Americans #NetflixAndChill--is great for cancer too.
Oh Mother Time!
Age is the number one driver of cancer. As Americans live longer and longer lives, the question of cancer becomes more of a when rather than an if. Forty percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.
Although cancer can strike at any point in life, the incidence of cancer increases with age because mutations in DNA accumulate over time. More time means more opportunity for error. With advancing age, the body struggles to detect and eliminate these DNA mutations. When one of these mutations leads to a #ReplicationRampage .. voila, cancer!
Color Genomics offers a saliva-based test to check for hereditary cancer risk. About 10-15% of cancers are due to mutations passed directly from parent to child, while the remaining majority are due to a combination of environment/lifestyle and aging.
The Color Test checks for hereditary mutations in 30 different genes, associated with 8 common types of cancer:
The Color Test is by physician prescription only. I order the test, travel to you, collect the saliva sample, then mail the test to the lab. Results arrive in 3-4 weeks.
Couldn't. Be. Easier.
Isn't it amazing having a personal physician?
Hesitant about discovering if you've inherited a cancer-predisposing mutation from your parents? Don't be.
KNowledge is power.
Cost of the Color Test: $249
Peace of mind: Invaluable.
Color Genomics even offers a consultation with a board-certified genetic counselor to discuss your results, included with the price of the test.
What cancers should you be screened for?
Without personalized medicine, your doctor will apply cookie-cutter cancer screening recommendations by the United States Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF]. Your doctor needs to ask two questions in order to determine which screening tests you need:
- Are you a man or a woman?
- How old are you?
What a complex decision tree 🙄.
For instance, according to the USPSTF, the decision to screen for breast cancer considers if you are a woman and if you are between the ages of 50-74. This one-size-fits-all guideline neglects other relevant details:
- Do you have family history of breast or ovarian cancer?
- Did you inherit BRCA mutations?
- When was your first menstrual cycle?
- Have you ever used oral contraceptives?
- Have you ever been pregnant?
- Are you inactive?
- Are you overweight?
- Do you have dense breasts?
- Have you ever been treated with radiation therapy?
- What medications have you taken in the past?
Answers to these questions affect your risk of breast cancer and should be considered in creating a personalized screening plan.
Get smarter 🤓.
Reject cookie-cutter medicine.
The age of personalized medicine has arrived.
The result of your Color Test will most likely be negative, meaning that you did not inherit one of the cancer-predisposing mutations. However, a negative result does NOT guarantee that you will be cancer-free, but rather that you didn't inherit one of the mutations known to cause these cancers.
Knowledge is power. Knowing that you've inherited a risk for cancer from your parents will guide a personalized screening plan.
PERSONALIZED SCREENING Plan
Results from your Color Test can help guide a personalized screening plan tailored to your genetics.
For instance, if you inherited a BRCA1 mutation we would begin screening for breast cancer as early as age 30, not at age 50 as recommended by the general USPSTF guidelines. Or, if you inherited an CDH1 mutation, we would perform screening endoscopies to monitor for stomach cancer; compare this with the general USPSTF guidelines which make no recommendation for stomach cancer screening.
You need and deserve cancer screening that reflects your genetics. A personalized screening plan increases the chance for early detection of cancer, and early detection increases survival.
Discover your hereditary cancer risk.
If at risk, increase SCREENING surveillance.
Johnson, George (28 December 2010). "Understanding Prehistoric Tumors, and Debate". The New York Times.