Radiation Oncologist advises women to “know their story”

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Dr. Marnee Spierer, chief of staff and radiation Oncologist at the Cancer Treatment Center of America, decided to have a radical mastectomy after looking at her family history. She determined she was at high risk to develop breast cancer. She talked about this decision and also offered advice for women to find out if they are high risk, what that means, and to examine their course of treatment which may not be surgery. Anchor Susan Lisovicz talked with Spierer about all this.

Lisovicz asks her how she found out she had a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Spierer said it started when her older sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019. She said that her sister represented the third generation of “a female cancer.”

Dr. Spierer Took a test online to determine her risk. She then went to a genetic counselor to “really learn” her risk. Her risk was “at least double if not triple, that of an average woman, she explained. Spierer said everyone is very different but having a gene mutation is the most common risk factor for women to develop breast cancer.

She explained we may think that we are doing everything right, and we may be doing everything right, but there are some things that are out of our control that many might not know about. An example of that is Spierer’s family history.

She said it is important to know your story. She understands that not everyone knows all the guidelines and that they can be overwhelming. Although, it can be much easier to know your family story.

Spierer said there are many different pathways and options to protect yourself. Some pathways include increased screenings for early protection. She said once you know your story it’s easier to find out where you fall and what pathway you need to be on. Spierer discussed her pathway and what she decided to do to prevent herself from getting breast cancer.

Dr. Marnee Spierer/Chief of Staff & Radiation Oncologist at Cancer Treatment Center of America, Phoenix

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