At-home genetic tests help gauge risks of contracting certain ca - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

At-home genetic tests help gauge risks of contracting certain cancers

You've probably seen kits in the store or online that will screen your risk for developing certain diseases (Source: NBC) You've probably seen kits in the store or online that will screen your risk for developing certain diseases (Source: NBC)
WSFA/NBC -

You've probably seen kits in the store or online that will screen your risk for developing certain diseases. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first at-home genetic test for breast cancer genes, but genetic counselors warn it has limitations.

Joyce Ellens has spent plenty of time in doctors' offices over the last few years after being diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in October 2015.

Ellens went through chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, and then radiation. She also met with oncology genetic counselor, Anne Frankl.

"There are a handful of genes that can cause at least a moderate to high risk of breast cancer. And we're learning more all the time about other genes that can influence risk, as well," said Frankl.

You can even test at home, but Frankl said that has limitations. The FDA recently approved at-home DNA test 23andme to screen for three BRCA gene mutations.

"However, those mutations are only common in individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, and there are literally thousands of other mutations that can't be detected by 23andme. And they're only looking at BRCA. They're not looking at the other genes that can increase risk for breast, ovarian, all sorts of cancers," Frankl said.

Through lab tests, Ellens eventually learned the gene CHEK 2 runs in her family, which puts the mother of three at increased risk for breast, colon, and skin cancer.

Ellens said, "That gives us power for the future and knowledge for the future and how to screen and just be preventative."

She is now two years cancer-free and spends much less time in doctors’ waiting rooms.

Copyright 2018 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Police: Suspected gunman spoke online about demon possession

    Police: Suspected gunman spoke online about demon possession

    Saturday, May 26 2018 4:03 AM EDT2018-05-26 08:03:40 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 4:05 AM EDT2018-05-26 08:05:27 GMT
    (Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman via AP). Police officers stand at the scene of a shooting on the east side of Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 24, 2018. A man armed with a pistol walked into Louie’s On The Lake restaurant at the dinner hour and ...(Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman via AP). Police officers stand at the scene of a shooting on the east side of Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 24, 2018. A man armed with a pistol walked into Louie’s On The Lake restaurant at the dinner hour and ...
    Authorities say a Facebook page in which a man claims his television is possessed by the devil belongs to the man suspected of shooting three people at an Oklahoma City restaurant before being killed by two armed...More >>
    Authorities say a Facebook page in which a man claims his television is possessed by the devil belongs to the man suspected of shooting three people at an Oklahoma City restaurant before being killed by two armed bystanders.More >>
  • Authorities: Suspected restaurant gunman had gun license

    Authorities: Suspected restaurant gunman had gun license

    Friday, May 25 2018 1:02 AM EDT2018-05-25 05:02:34 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 3:56 AM EDT2018-05-26 07:56:45 GMT
    (Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman via AP). Jennifer Stong hugs Tasha Hunt outside the scene of a shooting on the east side of Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 24, 2018. Stong was inside the restaurant when the shooting occurred.(Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman via AP). Jennifer Stong hugs Tasha Hunt outside the scene of a shooting on the east side of Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 24, 2018. Stong was inside the restaurant when the shooting occurred.

    Police: Man armed with pistol shot and wounded two customers at Oklahoma City restaurant before being shot dead by handgun-carrying civilian in parking lot.

    More >>

    Police: Man armed with pistol shot and wounded two customers at Oklahoma City restaurant before being shot dead by handgun-carrying civilian in parking lot.

    More >>
  • Giuliani says White House wants briefing on classified info

    Giuliani says White House wants briefing on classified info

    Saturday, May 26 2018 1:13 AM EDT2018-05-26 05:13:07 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 3:56 AM EDT2018-05-26 07:56:03 GMT
    (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File). FILE - In this May 5, 2018, file photo, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks in Washington.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File). FILE - In this May 5, 2018, file photo, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks in Washington.
    President Donald Trump's legal team wants a briefing on the classified materials shared with lawmakers.More >>
    President Donald Trump's legal team wants a briefing on the classified materials shared with lawmakers.More >>
Powered by Frankly