Cancer seems to run through my family, and often seems to run over my family. As I’ve posted recently my mom is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. This is the second time she’s had cancer. On her side of the family there is also skin cancer, but not much otherwise. On my biological father’s side of the equation, however, there are more cancers than anyone can even remember. We try to figure out what types and no one can recall for sure, but definitely colon and vulvar, and possibly lung, breast, and prostate. It would be awesome to have the medical records from several family members to sort that out. But, we don’t.
I’ve considered at least doing the local testing for the BRAC1 and BRAC2 genes to determine my risks for gyno and breast cancer. However, when Futura Genetics approached me about reviewing their at-home genetic testing kit, the timing couldn’t have been better. Their offer came within days of finding out about my mom’s cancer. Of course, I jumped at the chance.
I went onto their website and ordered my kit. The ordering process was super easy, and the kit arrived a couple of weeks later. Once it arrived I just registered it online.
The process is simple. You just spit in a tube, shake it up, drop it in the return envelope and then wait for the courier to pick it up. OK, this last part of the process was a little clunky but (I hope) only because they were changing couriers right in the middle of my review. I also had a lot going on so trying to set up a pick up date was a little difficult. We did eventually get it sorted and I’ve been told that they now have it where you can also drop it off at a local UPS rather than have them pick it up.
Once they picked up the sample all I could do was wait. It took about 5 weeks for my results to come in. Then, I finally received that email and I opened my report with a little fear. I didn’t know what I’d find. I know some people would never want to know if they have a genetic risk for anything as they don’t feel they could do anything about it anyway. The truth, however, is that just because you have a genetic risk doesn’t mean you will get that disease. The genetics are also only a part of the picture. Environment plays a huge role in many diseases, as well. We can make choices to control factors that influence certain diseases. And, early monitoring can make a huge difference. So, it’s good to know.
That said, I did opt out of knowing my risk for Alzheimers. With Fibromyalgia and fibro fog it’s already scary enough at times to think that I might be heading down that road. If I were to find out that my risk was very high for Alzheimers I think it would make me even more paranoid. And, at this point there is really nothing we can do about it. In that case, knowing would not help me.
When I read my report I was pleasantly surprised that my risk for most things was really no more high than average. The higher risks that I do carry are exactly where I thought they would be – cancer.
For each condition the report shows Your Risk %, the Average Risk %, and Your Genetic Risk.
Your Genetic Risk was calculated based on the genetic markers tested. Genetic risk 1 is
the average risk. Genetic risk less than 1 indicates that your risk is lower than average, and
greater than 1 indicates that your risk is higher than the population average.
I had a Genetic Risk greater than 1 on the following diseases:
- Breast Cancer (1.46) – I evidently don’t have all of the markers because my risk is actually only about 7% higher than the average person.
- Colorectal Cancer (1.06) – This is one that I’m pretty sure we’ve had in the family. It’s also one that my GI doctor is already watching for because of the polyps he’s already removed. So, while the report says my risk is average, the reality is my risk is a little higher.
- Gastric Cancer (1.04) – this, again, is just about average. But, again, I think this is one that we’ve had in the family.
- Lung Cancer (2.48) – This one actually surprised me and made me really glad that I don’t smoke.
- Obesity (1.02) – not surprising, even though this is about average. Weight is an issue that I really have to watch.
- Peripheral Vascular Disease (1.20) – I had no clue what this was before I read the report. That said it’s something I will be keeping an eye on now as it might actually explain issues that I already have.
- Psoriasis (1.56) – Another surprise. It’s not something I’ve ever seen in my family.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (2.20) – My grandmother had RA, and I have many symptoms that result in a constant watch for RA, so I’m not surprised that my risk for this is a bit high.
On the other end of the scale, my genetic risk for migraine is actually about 10% lower than average… I guess I showed them. I can beat those odds! HA!
I guess more than anything this validates the need I already felt to keep a good watch on certain things, to stay up on things like scopes and blood work. These tests aren’t cheap. This one runs $375usd. The question of whether it’s worth it is certainly a personal choice. To me it was worth it as it actually showed that my risks on some things is lower than I might have worried it was, but it’s still high enough to keep an eye on.