Tag Archives: Lexington Medical Cancer Center

Breast Cancer Genetics: Three Sisters, Two Genes, One Goal

Bridgett Mitchell of Lexington was diagnosed with breast cancer at Lexington Medical Center in January at just 40 years old. Doctors discovered four suspicious spots during a routine mammogram. Bridgett is a mother of four – her youngest child is in preschool.

Hope and Bridgett

Women’s Imaging Center wanted me to come back the next day for a biopsy; I got the call three days later that it was cancer,” Bridgett said. “Everything moved rather quickly from there.”
Breast cancer is no stranger to Bridgett’s family. Her older sister Iris was diagnosed with the disease in 2008 at age 41.

With two sisters diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, the family decided to have genetic testing.
 
The Genes
Researchers have been able to test for genetic factors on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that indicate a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancers. These gene mutations can be inherited from a person’s mother or father, and are the strongest inherited risk factor known for cancer risk in women.

The family’s genetic testing results raised even more questions. Bridgett tested positive for the BRCA2 gene. Iris tested negative. And then there was their sister Hope.

Iris

Hope, age 47, has never been diagnosed with breast cancer. But her genetic testing results revealed her odds of getting breast or ovarian cancer before age 70 were more than four times greater than women in the general population.

Steven A. Madden, MD, of Lexington Oncology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, is Bridgett’s doctor. He said the sisters’ story provides a valuable lesson.

“Even if you test negative, if you also have a strong family history of cancer, it’s a good reason to be more diligent in your ongoing screening.”

According to Dr. Madden, having a gene mutation is a very strong indicator of elevated breast cancer risk. So much, that many patients choose preventive surgery.
 
Bridgett’s diagnosis and positive genetic test results led Dr. Madden to advise her to have a double mastectomy.

“He said there’s an increased chance I would have breast cancer again if I didn’t,” Bridgett said. “We also found that two of my lymph nodes were positive, so it was spreading.”

In addition to the surgery, Bridgett opted for chemotherapy and radiation, plus a hysterectomy to eliminate the risk of ovarian cancer.

“Simply because of the mutation, he recommended a more aggressive treatment,” she said.

Steven A. Madden, MD

Bridgett
According to Bridgett, learning she had a BRCA mutation was helpful. “I consider it to be knowledge, and knowledge is power,” she said. “It makes you more mindful of what you’re doing and helps you stay on the right track. You try to make the best choices that you can, and then pray about the rest.”
Bridgett said she hopes her 7-year-old daughter will have genetic testing when she turns 18 so she will have the information she needs to make the right decisions.
 
Iris
While Iris does not have the BRCA mutation, her cancer diagnosis has led her to change her diet and exercise habits. Genetic testing did provide some relief.

“I have a daughter, and I was concerned about passing it on to her. The test resolved that stress,” she said.
Without a gene mutation and because Iris’ doctor was able to surgically remove all the cancer, her risk of recurrence was estimated at about 7 percent.

“Genetic testing can help you be proactive in finding the best approach to treatment. It may save your life.”
 
Hope
Although Hope never had cancer, her positive genetic testing spurred action. With the recommendations of her doctor and a genetic counselor, Hope underwent surgery to remove all of her breast tissue and a hysterectomy, which will greatly decrease her risk of cancer.

“My gynecologist and my family doctor both thought it would be in my best interest to go that route,” said Hope, a mother of five who also lives in Lexington. Hope’s daughter has tested negative for the breast cancer genes.

Hope also began eating more fruit and vegetables, cut back on bread and pasta in her diet and started walking three to five miles almost daily.

“Cancer can occur in different parts of your body, whether I had a mastectomy or not. I believe I’m doing all the things I need to do to prevent that.”

Campaign for Clarity Tip-Off

Join the Lexington Medical Center Foundation, University of South Carolina men’s head basketball coach Frank Martin, Cocky, USC cheerleaders, the Carolina Girls and Gamecock fans for the “Campaign for Clarity Tip-Off” on Monday, November 6.

Proceeds from this event at the Colonial Life Arena will raise money for the Lexington Medical Center Foundation’s “Campaign for Clarity,” a capital campaign to provide 3-D mammography throughout Lexington Medical Center’s network of care.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., the event includes a question and answer session with Coach Martin, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased at LexMed.com/tipoff.

Frank Martin became the head coach of the University of South Carolina men’s basketball team in 2012. He coached the team to the school’s first-ever appearance in the Final Four in the 2017 NCAA tournament.

As a leader in cancer care in the Midlands, Lexington Medical Center has a goal of expanding its 3-D mammography program throughout the hospital’s network of care. It currently provides 3-D mammogram technology at some of its Women’s Imaging locations and physician practices.

Producing multiple images of breast tissue within seconds, studies have shown that 3-D mammography increases breast cancer detection and reduces false positives. Women who would like to schedule a 3-D mammogram at Lexington Medical Center should call (803) 791 – 2486.

For more information on the Lexington Medical Center Foundation, visit LMCFoundation.com.

Campaign for Clarity Tip-Off
Monday, November 6, 2017
6:30 p.m.
Colonial Life Arena
$75 per person
LexMed.com/tipoff

Women’s Night Out 2017

More than 850 guests attended Women’s Night Out on Tuesday, October 17. It’s Lexington Medical Center’s annual event honoring breast cancer survivors and their families. Proceeds benefit the Crystal Smith Breast Cancer Fund, which provides breast cancer patients in need with financial assistance, resources and supplies during their treatment. Women’s Night Out included a health and wellness expo with our physician practices, a silent auction, dinner, fashion show featuring breast cancer survivors and keynote speaker Jina Moore. Did we catch you in any photos? Check them out below.

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