We sport teal ribbons for ovarian cancer, wear purple to highlight gynecological cancers and put on our pink to support breast cancer patients and survivors. 

With each commemoration, we uplift the individuals in the thick of the fight and celebrate those who have been victorious against the disease. But we also recognize the Arkansans who may face a cancer diagnosis in the future: the "previvors." 

In honor of National Previvor Day, the CARTI Cancer Genetics and Risk Management Clinic is sharing more about what this label means and how it impacts patients’ lives.

 

What is a previvor?

A previvor is someone who has an elevated predisposition to being diagnosed with cancer due to an inherited risk in their family. For example, an individual with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene may be at a higher risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

 

Why are previvors at greater risk?

Everyone has pieces of DNA, also known as genes, that help their bodies prevent cancer. Different genes are associated with different types of cancer. For previvors, a change in their DNA may lessen their protection against developing a particular kind of cancer.

 

How do you know if you’re a previvor?

Genetic testing. Coupled with counseling, this process allows high-risk patients to understand their genetic mutation's medical, psychological and familial implications. It also encourages preventive monitoring or extra screenings for early detection should a cancer diagnosis occur.

 

If you’re a previvor, what’s next?

There are three main ways for previvors to manage their risk: monitoring through regular screenings, preventive medications or surgery. It's recommended that patients speak with their health care providers to determine the best option for them.

 

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is scary. Finding out you may be a previvor is, too. For more information about genetic counseling or testing, click here.