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June 06, 2018 06:14 PM

Genetic Testing & Counseling

Genetic testing can be used to help people determine if they carry certain genes tied to certain diseases or cancers.

But sometimes the thought of finding out you have the gene can be a scary one, leaving people hesitant to have it done. 

Nadene Hajek says she wasn't originally on board with doing genetic testing. 

"My mother passed away of breast cancer when she was 55 years old, she was diagnosed at stage 4 and she battled for two years," Hajek said.

Hajeks dad encouraged her to get genetic testing done to determine if she carried a cancer gene. 

"At that time I heard it was expensive. I didn't even validate how expensive it was, I just really didn't want to live in fear," Hajek said. 

Genetic Counselor Becca Loman helps patients through the genetic testing process, and she says it's not unusual to have feelings of fear. 

"I think it's really common that we see a lot of people come in for family history of cancer, and then the discussion of genetic testing the best option for them," Loman said. 

Hajek eventually warmed up to the idea, and says she's happy she did. 

"I figured out it's a lot cheaper and I really realized that there's things you can do to mitigate your risk now," Hajek said. 

Hajeks results came back negative for the breast cancer gene, and that's not the only positive outcome that came from the testing. 

"She did a risk factor for me and that got me into the high risk factor breast cancer clinic, which I never even knew about before," Hajek said. 

"A negative result doesn't decrease her risk for breast cancer so she still would qualify for that high risk breast clinic and there they are able to have personalized discussions about what's the best screening plan for Nadene," Loman said. 

Hajek says she wants to help spread the word that even if you're scared of the results, there are things you can do no matter what your outcome.

"In the back of my mind I thought even if I was positive there's so many preventative actions I could take. I could do a double mastectomy that would lower my risk significantly," Hajek said.

Hajek says the process was simple, and she encourages others to take part. 

Genetic testing can be performed through cheek swab or blood draw, and just a few weeks for results to come back. 

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