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More Than BRCA: The Other Life-Threatening Breast Cancer Gene Mutation To Be Aware Of

CHEK2 serves the body as a tumor suppressor, but when it’s mutated, it can be linked to numerous cancers, like breast and prostate cancer.

Publication: TODAY.com

CHEK2 serves the body as a tumor suppressor, but when it's mutated, it can be linked to numerous cancers, including breast cancer. Alison Barron, M.D., FACS, breast surgical oncologist at Texas Breast Specialists–Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center and Carrollton explains why she's seeing more patients with this variant. Barron noted, “I myself am seeing more and more CHEK2 patients who randomly had genetic testing because of a remote family cancer that’s not breast related.”

Emily Przybyla, of Keller, Texas, was in her mid-30s and had never had cancer — though many close relatives did — when she learned that she carries the CHEK2 mutation. “At the time I was an employee of Texas Oncology. (After) talking with a nurse practitioner there regarding my family history of many types of cancers, she suggested I have the testing. It is a fairly simple process.”

Now, at 40, her screenings include yearly diagnostic mammograms plus monthly breast exams, annual skin checks with a dermatologist and a colonoscopy every three years. “Managing and screening is easy. It’s fighting cancer that is not,” said the mother of two daughters. “I would rather get a colonoscopy every three years and have polyps removed (than have) colon cancer, or go to a mammogram yearly than fight breast cancer. I stay on top of my health because I want to be around for a long time to see my kids grow up.”

Read the full story on Today.com.