Deanna Hastings’ mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 55. Her aunt was diagnosed with the disease as well.
So when Hastings turned 52, she decided to find out whether she had the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome gene. She is a patient of Clara J. Chae, M.D., Summa Physicians Inc. – Obstetrics and Gynecology, who recommended a screening for the BRCA gene.
“Dr. Chae had my family history and thought it would be a good idea,” says Hastings of Clinton, now age 53. “But she left the decision to me.”
It was an easy decision to make.
“I’d rather know so I can be vigilant about testing and keep up with it to make sure everything is OK,” she says.
Hastings underwent a buccal test (swab inside the mouth) in Dr. Chae’s office. The test was positive, which did not surprise Hastings.
“Quite honestly, I assumed I would have the gene because of my mom and aunt,” she says. “I took it like I already knew the answer.”
Dr. Chae explained all possible options. Hastings chose to undergo an annual mammogram and MRI. She also undergoes an annual physical exam and takes a prescribed medication daily. Otherwise, the positive result hasn’t impacted Hastings everyday life.
Because she tested positive, it was suggested that her daughter and sisters take the test as well. Her sisters tested negative but her daughter, Holly, 26, who recently got married, tested positive.
By current standards, Holly wouldn’t undergo her first mammogram until age 40. But by testing positive for the gene, she has begun yearly mammograms and MRI testing. Like her mom, Holly isn’t letting the positive result hinder her life.
“I’ll do what I’m told to do to stay healthy,” Holly says.
Hastings is prepared if she is ever diagnosed with breast cancer. “We will catch it very fast,” she says. “That was my thought process: Catch it fast and take care of it.”
Hastings says the BRCA test can give a woman the ability to take charge of her health.
“If the result is positive, you have the gift of knowledge and can be proactive with your health,” she stresses.
See Dr. Chae discuss the importance of BRCA testing.
Dr. Clara J. Chae sees patients at 201 5th St. NE, Suite 6, Barberton. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Chae or another Summa Physicians Inc. doctor, call (800) 237-8662 ext 234, or request an appointment online.