Having an understanding of your genes empowers you to make informed decisions about your & your children’s risks for developing cancer, particularly if you have a family history of breast and ovarian cancer. For example, Angelina Jolie chose to remove her healthy breasts and ovaries to reduce her risk of getting such cancer due to her inheritance of an altered BRCA gene.
However, the complexity of our genes can only be conveyed through guidance by clinical geneticists and /or genetic counsellors, but these services are currently in its infancy in Malaysia. Although technological advancements have allowed genetic testing to be more affordable, these improvements have not necessarily been passed onto patients, hence its inaccessibility.
CRM has a team of genetic counsellors who possess the qualifications and experience in providing information about genetic testing, and are able to help patients understand their options. Our research aims to examine the psychosocial impact of genetic counselling and testing in Asian families, and to develop new tools to help patients make their decision on whether genetic testing and risk management are appropriate for them.
We also have a team of laboratory scientists that develops next generation sequencing panels that test whether an individual has inherited a gene that puts them at an increased risk of developing cancers. Our research indicates that 1 in 20 Malaysian breast cancer patients have inherited a genetic alteration in BRCA1 or BRCA2. This information is helpful for individuals and families in deciding how to manage their risk of cancer.
Together, we aim to make these two valuable services of genetic counselling and testing more accessible to Malaysians, no matter where they live. We hope that, through knowledge and support, we are able to reduce the emotional and financial burdens that come with cancer.