Knowing that You Have Hereditary Cancer Risk Factors is Powerful Information

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we were pleased to have the opportunity to interview Jennifer Reynolds, Founder and President of Pink Warrior Advocates, an organization dedicated to providing direct financial and emotional support to women undergoing treatment for a breast cancer diagnosis.

As a breast cancer survivor who later discovered she had a predisposed pathogenic variant, Jennifer discussed why genomic testing for hereditary cancer risk factors is critical to so many people’s health journey.

Why do you think that genomic testing for hereditary cancer matters?

Knowing that you have these hereditary cancer risk factors is powerful information. It allows you, as a patient, to move forward and take control of your health versus your health controlling you.

If you are proactive with your health, you can get these tests done and know what you need to do to try to avoid a cancer diagnosis. You may at least catch it at a very early stage because you are monitoring your body. That is empowering.

 

For people who might not know about genomic testing, what would you tell them?

If you have cancer in your family, or if your hereditary cancer risks are something that you simply want to be aware of for your own knowledge, it’s a straightforward test based on my experience and should be a part of our annual exams.

In my opinion, getting tested for genetics is such an easy process. It’s even easier than if you’re getting a shot or a flu vaccine. Your provider can do a simple swab of your mouth or a simple blood test.

What else do you think is important for people to know?

I think it’s so important for all patients to know how easily accessible this type of testing is. Companies such as Sema4 have made hereditary cancer testing affordable and financially viable for more patients. Back when I was originally diagnosed in 2013, a hereditary cancer test was very expensive. And I think that it’s at a point now where cost should no longer be an excuse.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your organization, Pink Warrior Advocates?

Pink Warrior Advocates partners with the community to keep an ongoing dialogue of how we can assist patients in pursuing genetic testing and also sharing stories about how it’s helped the lives of those who have gone through the process and how easy it is.  Pink Warrior Advocates provides emotional and financial assistance, as well as chemo care kits, mastectomy kits, and mastectomy bras (AnaOno intimates), all on a donation basis.

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Sema4 Signal Hereditary Cancer offers high-quality testing with best-in-class support for providers and patients. Find out if hereditary cancer genomic testing may be right for you by taking our Family History Questionnaire: sema4.com/hc-questionnaire

Also watch this video if you’d like to hear more from Jennifer Reynolds.