May 5, 2017

What a cancer-risk assessment can tell you

Our expert voices conversation on genetic testing for cancer.

Genetic testing can be an important part of cancer risk assessment, but other factors should be considered. A history of cancer -- for you or your family, predisposing conditions, and lifestyle behaviors can all influence risk for the disease and should determine a strategy for prevention.

First step: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cancer screenings, but a risk assessment should always be the first step. Routine cancer screenings, such as mammograms, are known to reduce the risk of dying from cancer, but for whom are they appropriate? And when? Determining that risk is the only way we can determine what screening tests to recommend.

What a test can tell you: Those at average and increased risk should be counseled in lifestyle changes to lower their risk, and in certain cases, preventive therapies may be prescribed to reduce risk. Cancer is often found at earlier stages with routine screenings and may require less extensive surgeries or less toxic treatments, such as a lumpectomy instead of a mastectomy for small breast cancers. Certain screening tests are also equipped to identify and remove pre-cancers, so that no treatment is required.

Bottom line: Routine cancer screenings are a life-saving tool, best used when you fully understand your personal cancer risk.

The other voices in the conversation:

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Biden bets it all on South Carolina

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Most Joe Biden admirers Axios interviewed in South Carolina, where he's vowed to win today's primary, said they're unfazed by his embarrassing losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

Why it matters: Biden has bet it all on South Carolina to position himself as the best alternative to Bernie Sanders — his "good buddy," he tells voters before skewering Sanders' record and ideas.

Coronavirus updates: Market ends worst week since financial crisis

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The stock market ended its worst week since the financial crisis, prompting the Fed to release a statement. Meanwhile, the WHO warned that countries are losing their chance to contain the novel coronavirus and raised its global risk assessment to "very high" Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected more than 84,000 others in over 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 12 hours ago - Health

California coronavirus: Latest case has no recent history of international travel

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A new case of the novel coronavirus in California was announced on Friday after Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that 33 people had tested positive for the virus, noting the risk to the public remains low.

What's new: An adult woman with chronic health conditions in Santa Clara County who "did not recently travel overseas" or come into contact with anyone known to be ill was confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus on Friday by CDC and California Department of Public Health officials.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 12 hours ago - Health