Imaging Center Founder Discusses New Cancer Test

Published on September 14, 2015 in the Chicago Health News Examiner

Gold Coast-based Diagnostic Imaging Specialists of Chicago is an independent comprehensive imaging center for women catering to their emotional, physical, and diagnostic screening needs. They are currently the only imaging center to offer the Myriad myRisk™ Hereditary Test. The genetic cancer test recognizes carriers of genetic mutations that may result in eight different types of cancer. Some of these types include breast, gastric and ovarian cancers. It is a quick and simple blood test, where a single blood draw is sent to Myriad Genetic Laboratories for analysis.

The Hereditary Cancer Panel is a 25-gene panel with the ability to capture more mutation carriers than other tests combined. Dr. Ahmed Farag, M.D., C.M., FRCPC and Founder of Diagnostic Imaging Specialists of Chicago talked to Brandi Walker about the qualifications a patient must meet to take this test, whether a patient could still get tested without personal or family cancer history, and how effective has this test been in reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

What qualifications must a patient meet to be a candidate for the Hereditary Cancer Test?: We use the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)’s guidelines for testing. Their criteria includes an individual with a cancer diagnosis meeting any of the following:

  • A known mutation in a cancer susceptibility gene within the family
  • Early-age-onset breast cancer
  • Triple negative (ER-, PR-, HER2-) breast cancer ≤60 y
  • Two breast cancer primaries in a single individual
  • Breast cancer at any age, and
    ≥1 close blood relative with breast cancer ≤50 y, or
    ≥1 close blood relative with invasive ovarian cancer at any age, or
    ≥2 close blood relatives with breast cancer and/or pancreatic cancer at any age,
    or
    From a population at increased risk
  • Personal and/or family history of three or more of the following (especially if early onset): pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer (Gleason score ≥7); sarcoma, adrenocortical carcinoma, brain tumors, endometrial cancer; thyroid cancer, kidney cancer, dermatologic manifestations and/or macrocephaly, hamartomatous polyps of gastrointestinal (GI) tract; diffuse gastric cancer (can include multiple primary cancer in same individual)
  • Invasive ovarian
  • Male breast cancer

For an individual with no personal history of cancer but with a family history of any of the following:

  • A known mutation in a cancer susceptibility gene within the family
  • ≥2 breast cancer primaries in a single individual
  • ≥2 individuals with breast cancer primaries on the same side of family
  • ≥1 invasive ovarian cancer primary
  • First- or second-degree relative with breast cancer ≤45 y
  • Personal and/or family history of three or more of the following (especially if early onset): pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer (Gleason score ≥7), sarcoma, adrenocortical carcinoma, brain tumors, endometrial cancer; thyroid cancer, kidney cancer, dermatologic manifestations and/or macrocephaly, hamartomatous polyps of GI tract; diffuse gastric cancer (can include multiple primary cancers in same individual)
  • Male breast cancer

Could the patient still get tested if they don't have a personal or family cancer history?:
The myRisk™ Hereditary Cancer Panel can be administered to anyone—male or female—regardless of personal or family history. However, insurance will only cover patients who meet the aforementioned NCCN criteria for genetic testing. Those whom do not meet the criteria will have to pay out of pocket for the testing.

Tell me more about this Risk Assessment Form:
The Risk Assessment Form is essentially our Cancer Family History Questionnaire. This questionnaire allows you to fill out information regarding cancer type & diagnosis of close family members. By reviewing this form, we are able to give recommendations for patient testing based on your personal or family history. This questionnaire does NOT suggest or imply that the patient in fact has cancer or a genetic mutation.

How effective has this test been in helping women reduce their risk of breast and ovarian cancers?:
By knowing their risk, a patient can choose to take action and possibly reduce their risk by over 90%. Taking action can mean anything from undergoing surgery to increasing surveillance and more. Seeing a genetic mutation for ovarian cancer is especially beneficial because ovarian cancer is almost always discovered too late, making the chance of long term survival small. Choosing to have a prophylactic surgery between the ages of 35-40 years old can be life saving. Studies have shown that knowing these genetic risks and catching them before it becomes critical can add 20 years to a woman’s life.

How effective has this test been in helping men reduce their risk of prostate and pancreatic cancers?:
While our office is primarily focused on breast and ovarian cancer histories in order to move forward with testing, it is certainly open for men as well. Because men with family histories of breast cancer are equally able to transmit the genetic defect to their children, we have had men take the myRisk™ Hereditary Cancer Panel in interest of their daughters.

For more information on Myriad myRisk™ testing, please visit http://discmammo.com/diagnostic-imaging-services. To schedule an appointment with Diagnostic Imaging Specialists of Chicago, please visit the "Schedule an Appointment" page on the website or call 312.867.9000.

CONTACT US for more information or SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT