SAN ANTONIO - At only 24 years old Angela Hood has possibly made one of the most difficult and emotional decisions of her life. Angela will have a double mastectomy, even though she does not have breast cancer.
She decided to have both breasts removed after learning her mother had breast cancer, and then she went to Dr. Marra Francis to undergo BRCA genetic testing.
"It’s something that is going to determine the rest of my life, so it was really important to my mom and my sister to go along with the testing," Angela said.
Angela tested positive for the gene that causes breast and ovarian cancer.
"In Angela's case her specific mutation had a much higher risk for developing breast cancer," Explained Dr. Francis. "She was actually in the 90's, so she had a greater than 90% chance of developing breast cancer before the age of 70."
The genetic testing is for people who meet certain criteria based on family history. Dr. Francis believes it's saving lives and can easily be done during a routine exam. The doctor retrieves cells from the mouth, and a sample is sent to a lab. Results are back in two to three weeks.
"If you identify someone with the gene before they get cancer, you can prevent the cancer," Dr. Francis said.
Dr. Francis is considered high risk because of her family history. While she did not test positive for the gene, she had a double mastectomy.
"As someone who has personally had a double mastectomy, facing a 30% risk I can’t say Angela did anything extreme or unreasonable," Dr. Francis told News 4 WOAI.
"If I can take a step to not have to go through what my mom went through, then I'm all for that," said Angela.
Dr. Francis says 90% of insurance companies are now covering this genetic testing. Patients who test positive do qualify for increased screenings and preventative medications and surgeries.
Dr. Marra Francis
7711 Louis Pasteur Dr., Suite 503
San Antonio, TX 78229
Phone: (210) 614-1098drpaulmorton.com