Q&A session with clinic director of Vanderbilt's Breast Center - WKRN News 2

Q&A session with clinic director of Vanderbilt's Breast Center

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

In light of Angelina Jolie announcing she underwent a double mastectomy earlier this year after learning of her high risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, Nashville's News 2 spoke with the clinic director of Vanderbilt's Breast Center to share her expertise.

During a question and answer session with Dr. Ingrid Meszoely, clinic director of Vanderbilt's Breast Center, she answered questions about genetic testing and other preventative measures.

Am I a candidate for genetic testing?

"That's a discussion you often have with your physician so if you have a family history of breast cancer, particularly first degree relatives, also a male relative in your family and people who have cancer on both sides might want to consider genetic testing," Dr. Meszoely said.

Is this procedure covered by insurance?

"Usually we have some medical documentation why you are getting for getting the test.  For instance Blue Cross Blue Shield Tennessee will cover about 80% of the test so there is some out of pocket still and the test is about $3,000 currently which is very pricey so most people won't be running around getting this test," she explained.

If I have a high percentage chance of cancer, should I have a preventative double mastectomy?

"I think one of the biggest things is you have to think about the risk benefit ratio.  So you think, how much risk am I really at and then how much benefit will I get by doing this procedure?  And obviously that's a discussion you would have with a surgeon, like myself as well as a plastic surgeon because reconstruction is a big part of that procedure," Dr. Meszoely said.

What are some other preventative measures?

"We often say start your screening 10 years prior to your youngest affected relative so if your mother developed breast cancer at the age of 35 we would say start your mammograms at 25 where as the average woman would start at age 40," she elaborated.

Dr. Meszoely also mentioned that if you are paying a portion of a procedure out of pocket, there are grants available to help cut the cost.

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