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Your Healthy Family: Push to get men tested for BRCA gene

Posted at 8:31 AM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 08:32:28-04

While most people associate the BRCA gene with breast cancer, it can carry risks for both men and women. It's been linked to multiple types of cancer.

At age 61, Steve Kalister's father lost his battle to an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

"I've long had concerns about what my risk might be," Kalister said.

He's now a father to 9-year-old twins.

"I'm 50 years old now and certainly want to be around for my family," he said.

That's why he decided to get genetic testing.

"It did come back as BRCA-2 positive," Kalister said.

Having that gene mutation increases your risk of certain cancers, including prostate, pancreatic and breast cancer.

"Hereditary cancer can be inherited from your mom or your dad whether your a male or a female. So, for example, if you're a male who's coming in to see me, you can inherit cancer risk from your mother," Lindsey Byrne, a Licensed Genetic Counselor for Ohio State University's College of Medicine, said.

She said it's important to know your family health history on all sides. If there's cancer in your family, she said talk to a doctor about whether genetic testing is right for you.

"It helps us to know who's at higher risk and when to start screening," Byrne said.

Since his test results, Kalister said he's changed his lifestyle to limit his risks, and makes sure he gets routine tests done every year.

"It really is kind of a knowledge is power thing for me," he said.

Byrne said genetic testing is typically are done through blood or saliva, and results usually come back within two to three weeks.