Genetic testing for cancer

Genetic testing for cancer now available in the Lynchburg region (Photo: SBGTV).

Breast Cancer is no stranger to Cara Hoxworth and Leecy Fink.

"I have a fairly significant family history of breast cancer on my dad's side," Hoxworth said.

"I had no idea I would be diagnosed at the age of 36 with breast cancer then metastetic breast cancer," Fink said.

Both cracked into their genetics to find out the risk of developing the disease. Cara wanted to find out for herself.

"Knowing my family history I wanted to have a proactive approach to my own health care and to be very involved in what does this management and maintenance look like ," Hoxworth explained.

Fink, who already knew she carried the BRCA 1 mutation, wanted to help her 19 year old daughter who was living in fear of the disease.

"I didn't know how seriously she was consumed with having cancer," Fink said.

They turned to Eddie Williams, a genetic counselor at Centra's Alan B Pearson Cancer Center.

"I think genetic testing has exploded," Williams said.

Williams discusses family history -- and helps people figure out what genetic test is right for them and guides them through the results.

"It can really help a patient understand if they have an increased chance of certain cancers," Williams explained. "It also has an impact to the family i f we identify something in a family member that might help them know they have the change as well.

Hoxworth got some good news with her results.

"My results were actually negative. To be honest I was actually very surprised. "

Fink and her daughter also got some welcome news.

"She was actually completely surprised to find out she was negative! So we celebrated," Fink said. "It was huge news. It was overwhelming. For a parent to see she wasn't going to face what I face is huge."

Because of their family history, both will still have to remain vigilant in their fight to stay healthy. They do know the genetic factor in not in the equation.

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