“I feel very lucky to have had this genetic test”

Speaking on Channel 10’s program Studio 10, Sydney based product designer Luisa Lombardo said she is grateful for the insights delivered by genetic testing, information that may have saved her life.

Luisa’s mother and grandmother both passed away from breast cancer when she was young indicating that Luisa could be of heightened risk of developing the disease. Further investigation of her family tree revealed instances of breast and ovarian cancer on her father’s side, so the hereditary risk of developing a condition became greater still.

Luisa has been pursuing MRI checks for the last six years, but at an appointment this year, her specialist recommended genetic testing for a clearer picture of hereditary risk.

Luisa’s family all sought genetic testing and Luisa tested positive for a BRCA gene that confirmed the risk, so she underwent a preventative mastectomy this year.

Whilst this was a big step to take, Luisa says she feels “really lucky to have found out before anything happened, because most people discover they are a carrier of a gene following a cancer diagnosis”.

Genetic testing expert, Professor Rodney Scott, Director of Molecular Medicine at NSW Health Pathology, Hunter acknowledges that it is a big decision, but Luisa was acting based on the best information available.

“The tests performed in Australia are subject to a whole number of guidelines and recommendations and accreditations so that they’re as accurate as they can be. A preventative mastectomy will have reduced Luisa’s risk of breast cancer to the same as the rest of the population”.

More and more people are considering genetic testing to provide priceless data about their family history and risks of developing certain conditions.

Luisa says that the process was initially confronting, but ultimately what she now knows from the genetic tests is “amazing”.

Anyone seeking more information and support with breast cancer can contact Breast Cancer Network Australia.

*IMAGE: Luisa Lombardo pictured with Professor Rodney Scott at an appearance on Studio 10 discussing genetic testing for breast cancer