Hereditary predisposition to cancer
What is cancerophobia?
Today, cancerophobia, a fear of cancer and dying from it, is one of the most common types of obsessive compulsive neurosis. In the most severe cases a psychiatrist’s assistance may be required. Does everyone who worries about their health, have cancerophobia?
Over the past two years society columns have been covering developments in Angelina Jolie’s life: last year she ventured to undergo a preventive double mastectomy after tests had revealed that she had been at high risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The other day it became known that the actress was going to have ovaries removed, for the same reasons.
Can fear motivate a person to undergo annual screening?
Early diagnosis of malignant diseases makes the chance of complete recovery considerably higher, which is common knowledge. There are genetic tests for some types of cancer, particularly breast cancer and ovarian cancer, which identify hereditary predisposition. Both types of cancer are often caused by mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that can be inherited through maternal and paternal lines. If a mutation is present in one parent, the risk of developing breast cancer in their children varies from 40 to 80%, and ovarian cancer - from 25 to 54%. In families with history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer, it is important for a woman to know whether she has increased risk of developing these diseases in order to prevent their occurrence or have them diagnosed at an early stage. It is enough to undergo a blood test.
Angelina Jolie, whose mother died of breast cancer at the age of 56 underwent this test. Angelina Jolie is going to have her ovaries removed in the nearest future. But before the surgery Angelina is going to have her own egg cells frozen to be able to have children in the future.
Fertility preservation in women who have indications for the removal of reproductive organs or undergo a course of chemotherapy or radiotherapy is the focus of EMC specialists’ attention. The program of EMC Oncology Institute implemented in conjunction with the EMC Clinic of Reproductive and Prenatal Medicine offers deep freezing for the preservation of biological material - sperm and egg cells - for its subsequent use after the therapy is completed. The material which is not subject to external influences is stored for an unlimited time, and patients can consider the issue of reproduction in a few years. To this end, a fertility specialist together with an oncologist compiles a calendar of scheduled treatment and sampling, which is especially important in the case of the female cells where a long period of preparation associated with hormonal stimulation is required for obtaining eggs. Then oocyte cryopreservation is carried out, or insemination and cryopreservation of embryos obtained as a result which can also be stored over an unlimited period of time. EMC female patients can also have their genetic predisposition to breast or ovarian cancer tested.