SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion (LCRP) at St. Joseph’s/Candler reports an increase in the numbers of women with genetically predisposed cancers in the Savannah area.

Last year, the center received 800 referrals. So far this year, that number stands at about 1,000.

A large number of these referrals are for those with a family history of breast cancer.

This prompted LCRP to hire an additional geneticist. The role of the researcher is to test patients and either confirm or rule out the likelihood of a breast cancer diagnosis.

Most who undergo these tests have a family history. That’s why doctors are stressing the importance of screening, so any confirmation can be found earlier and, therefore, treated sooner.

“Especially at a young age, it’s concerning, because that individual may be at an increased risk for cancer,” explained Sunaina Kapur, a genetic counselor.

Kapur says LCRP might increase screenings, recommend medications or even preventative surgeries to catch cancer early on and prevent it in the long term.

Some insurance will cover genetic testing. The LCRP also has resources to help patients unable to afford the testing. For more information call 912-819-8679.

It’s Buddy Check 3 day. WSAV News 3 is On Your Side every third of the month to remind you and your buddies to complete your breast self-exams.

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If you have any questions or concerns about breast health, call the Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion at 912-819-7053.