JScreen highlights the importance of genetic screening for men

Many men don't realize the risk of cancer can be hereditary, and Men's Health Awareness Month is a good time to spread the message.

Credit: Courtesy.
Credit: Courtesy.

JScreen, a nonprofit, public health initiative committed to preventing genetic diseases and hereditary cancers, is honoring June as Men’s Health Awareness Month. This observance emphasizes the significance of comprehensive health strategies for men, including those that impact their own health and those that may impact their future children.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States. Many men do not realize that cancer risk can be hereditary. When an individual carries a mutation in a cancer gene, they are at increased risk for developing certain types of cancer. Some are surprised to learn that mutations in the BRCA genes, known to increase risks for breast, ovarian and other cancers in women, also increase risks for prostate, pancreatic, skin and breast cancer in men. If a man or woman carries a mutation in a BRCA or other cancer gene, each of their children has a 50% chance of inheriting the mutation and facing that risk. Cancer genetic testing identifies these mutations, allowing the individual to take action to prevent cancer or detect it at an early, treatable stage.

Joseph Rosenberg of Brooklyn, N.Y., tested positive for a mutation in one of his BRCA genes and has this to say about genetic cancer screening: “Men think that only women can be BRCA positive, and that is not true. I did my research and found JScreen to get my cancer genetic
testing, and they made it so easy and affordable and even provided genetic counseling. If you do test positive for BRCA, it does not mean you are sick, but you can take action to prevent cancer. JScreen saves lives, and as a father, brother, uncle and cousin, you owe to yourself and your family to get tested.”

Men can also help ensure the health of their future children through reproductive genetic screening. This type of testing identifies carriers of genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, and sickle cell disease, and gives prospective parents important information for family planning. Testing on both partners is important, as most of these diseases occur when both parents are carriers of the same disease gene, posing a 25% risk of the disease in each pregnancy. Testing both parents prior to pregnancy maximizes available reproductive options to help ensure the health of their future children.

The expert genetic counselors at JScreen stress the importance of genetic screening for men this Men’s Health Awareness month and every month. “As we observe Men’s Health Awareness Month this June, we want to stress that genetic screening is crucial to a man’s health journey. It’s not only about early detection and prevention of potential health issues for the individual but also about ensuring the health of future generations,” says Melanie Hardy, MS, CGC, JScreen genetic counselor. “Genetic health should be a priority for all men, this
month and every day of the year.”

Visit  JScreen.org  for more information.

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JScreen is a national nonprofit public health initiative dedicated to preventing genetic diseases. Headquartered in Atlanta at Emory University School of Medicine, the JScreen initiative provides convenient at-home access to cutting-edge genetic testing technology, patient education and genetic counseling services. JScreen believes the combination of education, access to premier gene screening technologies and personalized, confidential support are the keys to preventing these devastating diseases.
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