This Simple Saliva Test Assesses Breast Cancer Risk

Print icon
By Meghan Burgess

Breast cancer has a particularly high prevalence in Connecticut, but a new program is helping women and men identify their risk of developing the disease – and other cancers – through a simple questionnaire and saliva test.

The Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment Program, offered through Hartford HealthCare imaging service locations across central Connecticut, uses a brief questionnaire to initially identify risk. The one-page questionnaire is automatically offered to any patient getting a mammogram, but is also available to anyone who would like to take it – either at an appointment or as a walk-in.

If a patient answers “yes” to just one question, such as “Do you have Eastern European Jewish ancestry” or “Do you have a relative with a history of cancer,” the patient may qualify to receive a 28-gene saliva test through an industry leader and get connected to a certified genetic counselor to discuss the tests beforehand. A nurse practitioner will discuss results with patients in person, provide a personalized plan to decrease risks and work with their primary care physician if there are positive results. Most insurance companies cover testing costs. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.

Knowing you may be at higher risk doesn’t necessarily mean cancer is imminent, but it does provide the ability to manage your risks and improve your chances of catching it in its early stages if it does develop.

Meghan Burgess, a nurse practitioner, is the director of the Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment Program. The program is available at Hartford HealthCare Imaging Centers in Southington, West Hartford, Cheshire, Plainville, Wallingford, Meriden and Vernon. For more information, please call 203.694.8879.


What's New

Mobile Testing

With 38,000 Tests, Mobile COVID-19 Program Reaches State’s Underserved

Hartford HealthCare (HHC) this week reached a milestone of 37,864 COVID-19 tests completed. Thousands were through its mobile testing program, designed to help reach underserved population across Connecticut, according to Dr. Ajay Kumar, chief clinical officer for the system. Because testing is critical to managing the spread of the virus and...

Cookout

10 Tips to Keep Your Summer Entertaining Safe During COVID-19

The summer season is officially underway and whether you spent the holiday weekend at home – again! – or widening your world in some way, chances are you’ll be trying to socialize sometime soon. COVID-19 social distancing guidelines have kept us largely at home. As infection rates decline, many are...

Walk on the Beach

Is it Safe to Take a Summer Vacation, Even Fly?

Distancing, both physical and social, is the buzzword of the year and one Hartford HealthCare (HHC) experts want you to remember as the state reopens and you begin venturing out of your home this summer. The warmer months, when kids are traditionally of school, are a time when many people...

COVID and Pets

CDC’s COVID-19 Update Spares Pets, Downgrades Threat of Infected Surfaces

COVID-19 spreads more person-to-person than surface-to-person or animal-to-person, according to the latest update guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The person-to-person spread surprises no one, but the CDC has downgraded the risk of  touching a contaminated surface, then infecting yourself by touching your nose, eyes or mouth....