SPACE COAST MEDICAL REPORT
TESTING FOR LIFE
Genetic counseling provides treatment options for potential cancer patients
Try as we can, we cannot escape
those pesky genes we were dealt at
“We are all born with a unique
genetic blueprint, which lays out
the basic characteristics of our personality,
as well as our physical health and appearance,”
award-winning author Joan D. Vinge
Some fortunate folks inherit genes that
bestow fetching looks upon them. Others
unfortunately inherit the risk of cancer.
This risk of cancer has been part of Beth
Withrow’s adult life.
“I lost both my parents and my mother’s
mother to cancer,” said the Merritt Island
resident, who started regular cancer
screenings 20 years ago, when she was 30.
Cancer is, in a significant part, a genetic
disease, and 5 percent to 10 percent of
all cancers are associated with inherited
genetic mutations that control how cells
grow and divide. Genes make proteins that
act as messengers for the cells. When one
or more genes in a cell mutate, it creates
an abnormal protein that pushes cells to
multiply uncontrollably, resulting in cancer.
Two decades ago, Withrow’s physician
50: SPACE COAST LIVING | SPACECOASTLIVING.COM
By Maria Sonnenberg
Health First genetic
counselor Delori Dulany
goes over genetic test
results with patient
Beth Withrow, who lost
both parents and her
grandmother to cancer.
HEALTH FIRST PHOTOS
Results of genetic testing were a huge relief
for Withrow, who is at high risk of cancer
because of family history.