Madeline Miller is a Genetic Counselor at Avista Adventist Hospital, which is part of the Centura Health System. She helps people to understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial ramifications of cancer. Her introductory process involves gathering family history, conducting a risk assessment and discussing screening options.
Cancer is the uncontrolled cell growth and is a disease of the genes. Five to ten percent of cancers are hereditary. There are three types of cancer: familial, sporadic and hereditary. Familial cancer is diagnosed when multiple generations are diagnosed, is found at an early onset (<50 years of age), can involve multiple primary cancers and presents precancerous lesions.
Twelve out of 100 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. This can be hereditary and 30 to 85% of future generations within a family will develop breast cancer. There is a 50% chance that the disease will be passed to the next generation.
People can help to avoid cancer by: eating a healthy diet, limiting consumption of red meat, limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption, exercising and avoiding tobacco products. Ms. Miller debunked five myths about cancer: genetic mutations skip generations; only your mother's history matters; if you do not have a family history, you are not at risk; you will lose your health insurance if you test positive and you at a high risk and there is nothing you can do about it.