Maui Business

The Business Spotlight: Genetic Cancer Screening at Lyons Care Associates

October 14, 2018, 1:21 PM HST
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Among U.S. women, data from the American Cancer Society estimates 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer in 2017. Genetic testing can play a key role in learning if you’re at risk for breast cancer and other related diseases, but high cost was a barrier for years.

“When the genetics test for breast cancer first came out in the early ’90’s, the cost was about $5,000 per test,” explains Dr. Samuel D. Lyons. “In 2013 the Supreme Court intervened and took away the patent for genetic testing so that may other genetics companies could get into the game, and the cost dramatically declined.”

Lyons Care Associates is offering Kālai-Ōewe to our local populations, which provides comprehensive cancer genetics and risk assessment services.  Cost is no longer the issue that it used to be, thanks in large part to Lyons Care Associates’ genetics partner, Invitae in San Francisco.  You can learn more details in our video above.

“There’s a lot to know about our own genetics,” says Lyons Care Associates’ genetics navigator Kelley Acosta. “If you do have a family history of it, it’s important to know if you could be a carrier of a certain gene, because you could pass it down to your children.”

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Once patients submit their saliva for the simple, multi-gene panel screening, results are in within 21 to 30 days.  Patients get an explanation of their results in-person at Lyons Care Associates.  There are three possibilities: positive, negative or uncertain significance.

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“A positive result means you have a genetic predisposition that will increase your risk of genetic disease in the future; negative may reduce but doesn’t necessary eliminate your risk of getting a genetic disease,” explains advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) Melford C. Lazarte of Lyons Care Associates. “Variance of uncertain significance means at this time, Invitae has not found enough genes to signify if it’s a positive or a negative.”

That’s why, adds Lazarte, that genetic screenings are so important, especially here in our cultural melting pot of Hawai‘i.

“We have special populations here in Hawai‘i that are not part of that study, so we have a opportunity to change that by having more people get genetically tested,” he says. “The more genes we can identify, the more we can change that variance in the future.”

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Lyons Care Associates’ motto is “for the hope that lives in you.”  The main office is located in Kahului at 33 Lono Avenue, Suite 220.   Call 808-866-5335 or see the Lyons Care Associates website to learn more about their services.

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