We are seeing the first generation of Previvors, people who find through genetic testing a high likelihood for a cancer.
Angelina Jolie may be the face to associate with that. Considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, Angelina discovered through genetic testing that she had an 80% chance of developing a breast cancer.
She had a double mastectomy before that could happen.
But genetic testing is not just for famous movie stars.
Joyce Walmer had lost her father and uncle to Thyroid cancer. She was diagnosed with it herself at 15.
There was a 50% chance that the gene would be passed down to one of her three children. The gene, MEN2A, guarantees you will develop thyroid cancer.
The results confirmed what Walmer had feared: Each of her children carried MEN2A, and would eventually develop thyroid cancer. So, their thyroids were removed.
Clearly, genetics are going to be more and more important in the journey to save lives and mitigate cancers.
Testing is commonly covered by health insurance and public healthcare programs for people at high risk for having a mutation, and not covered for people at low risk. The purpose of limiting the testing to high-risk people is to increase the likelihood that the person will receive a meaningful, actionable result from the test, rather than identifying a variant of unknown significance.