Geoff McLennan, Prostate Cancer Patient and Advocate

Happy New Year! I hope you navigated the holiday food events, egg nogs, and family gatherings unscathed. We have a compelling free program coming up on January 27th at 12pm ET, featuring experts discussing genetic and genomic testing for prostate cancer (PCa). Before the event, I’d like to discuss genetic testing and its role in cancer treatment.

At its most basic understanding, cancer is caused by changes, or alterations, to a cell’s genetic code. These alterations change the way the cell behaves, including when it grows, divides, or dies. Cells that are unable to be repaired by the body can lead to cancer and cancerous tumors. Advancements in prostate cancer treatment guidelines now include genomic and genetic tests to help doctors understand different aspects of your cancer to better personalize your care.

What is genomic testing?

Since every cancer is unique, genomic tests like Prolaris® look at the cancer to see how it is behaving and how aggressively it is growing. This information is then used to inform patients about their risk of dying from prostate cancer or cancer spreading outside of the prostate into other areas of the body.

This information provides clarity in understanding if a patient is a candidate for Active Surveillance, should pursue treatment such as surgery or radiation, and if they would benefit from hormone therapy ADT. This genomic test assists your medical team in identifying the most effective treatments for your specific situation. The timely knowledge of these test results can be life-saving, ensuring you receive prompt and appropriate cancer treatment.

What is germline testing?

Germline tests, like the MyRisk® Hereditary Cancer Test, uses next-generation sequencing technology to analyze small samples of blood or saliva to check for actionable mutations that may exist in every cell of your body – not just your cancer cells. These tests are the same type of genetic testing that women with breast cancer and men and women with colon cancer routinely get to help customize their treatment plans.

MyRisk Hereditary Cancer Testing covers a broad spectrum of known genetic mutations, providing you and your medical team crucial information for your PCa treatment and continuing care. MyRisk is a powerful tool that evaluates 48 genes, aiding healthcare providers in determining patients’ risk for 11 types of hereditary cancers. MyRisk can help patients identify if they qualify for targeted therapies, secondary cancer risk and informs family members of their potential risk of developing certain cancers.

Knowledge is a powerful tool and can alleviate anxiety and mental stress associated with cancer, particularly if your family lacks a reliable history of cancer cases. Furthermore, if you’re uncertain about parental lineage, genetic testing serves as a practical tool to confirm your cancer risks.

Join us for a free patient webinar

Make sure to mark your calendar for this upcoming online webinar titled “Personalize your Prostate Cancer Treatment with Genetic Testing” on January 27th at 12pm ET, where Christina Nakamoto PA-C, MPH, will guide you through the significance of genetic testing, providing insights into why and how to undergo testing, along with potential follow-up steps. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable knowledge about tailoring prostate cancer treatment to your unique genetic profile.

The program will be hosted by Active Surveillance Patients International (ASPI) and will include a lively question and answer session. Tune in to the program and join in with your questions.

Live, Learn and Thrive with prostate cancer.

Until next time, live a healthy and prosperous life!

Geoff McLennan, MPA, Prostate Cancer Patient and Advocate

Author Bio:

Geoff is dedicated to helping families and friends support a prostate cancer patient. He joined the board of Active Surveillance Patients International (ASPI) in 2018 and is an 11-year PCa patient. As a PCa patient advocate, he envisions providing a broad understanding of how patients can collaborate with clinicians for realistic medical care. He enjoys meeting and learning from his clinicians, cancer researchers, providing free online programs for patients, and reminds us that “to live, learn and thrive with PCa” is the motto of ASPI. He is glad he took science courses for understanding a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and diet.

Geoff also volunteers as a board member and past chairman of the Placer County Mental Health Advisory Board where his interest includes therapy and resources for AS men, and a broad oversight of community mental health programs and innovations. He is married to Constance McLennan, a fine artist, has a grown son, and lives in Northern California.

*Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views or opinions of Myriad Genetics or its affiliates. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider.