Sheila Garrett

“This genetic test caught my cancer at stage 1.”

Sheila Garrett of Henderson County always received an annual mammogram but just recently decided to do genetic testing. “My mother had breast cancer in her late 50s, and my sister in her mid-30s had breast cancer. My test came back that I had the BARD 1 gene, new gene, they don’t know a lot about.”

Doctors recommended that Sheila have an MRI; to look deeper into the breast tissue. “Probably 3-4 weeks later had MRI, the results showed a 9mm mass.”

Patients like Sheila who qualify for a genetic test first fill out a questionnaire about their family’s medical history. Doctors are looking for a pattern of cancer on one side of the family which they found with Sheila. You then do a saliva or blood sample and that is sent to a lab to look for genes.

“Because I did this genetic test, caught my cancer stage 1; if I had not done that; waited a couple of years to do a mammogram, it could be stage 3 or 4 by then.”

Sheila recently completed chemotherapy and plans to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction. Her daughters are now preparing to do genetic testing.

“If they can catch it early and have options, today it can save their lives, save them from chemo and radiation.”

Click here to watch Sheila’s video

Go to the ETMC Cancer Institute page.