TAMPA - 47-year-old Dawn Sollar has received instructions on how to take a genetic test that may tell her if she carries one of two gene mutations that increase her risk of developing breast cancer.
She's not doing this test just for herself.
She already has Stage 4 breast cancer that's metastasized to her spine. She's doing it to see if her three sisters may also be at higher risk.
Dawn said, "My genetic link is my grandmother who passed away when she was 32. She had ovarian cancer that's been 60 years ago. "
There are a number of red flags that could put you at greater risk of an inherited form of breast cancer. They include a male member of your family has breast cancer, a woman in your family has ovarian cancer, someone is diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age (under 50), or you have numerous family member with the disease.
If you have any of those risk factors, you can ask your doctor about the BCRA test.
If her test is positive, she may opt to have her ovaries removed.
Dr. Kay Reed, Radiologist and the Director of the Florida Hospital Tampa Breast Center said, "Without surgery, a person who tests positive can have up to an 80 percent chance of developing a breast cancer in their life time and up to 40% chance of developing ovarian cancer in their lifetime. With the preventative surgery, the likelihood of developing breast cancer is less than five percent."
That number can be down to six percent for developing ovarian cancer.
Dawn will now wait for the results as she continues her chemotherapy treatment for the cancer in her spine.
"All three of my sisters have children, so I think we just want to see what the results are before we talk anymore about it. "
Florida Hospital Tampa is hosting a presentation about how your genes fit into your health this Wednesday night.
It's free, but seating is limited.
To register online: fhtampa.org/spiritofwomen or call (813) 615-7537.