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Ministry St. Mary's offers gene testing for breast cancerSubmitted: 07/17/2013
Story By Melissa Constanzer


RHINELANDER - Many people want to know if they are likely to get cancer. Now you can have your blood tested to see if you're likely to get breast cancer and only one Northwoods hospital can give you that answer.

Ministry St. Mary's Hospital in Rhinelander offers BRCA gene testing. The gene can be mutated and that can lead to a greater risk of breast or ovarian cancer.

"The mutation arching comes from both our parents, our mothers and our fathers. Breast cancer is not only affecting women, it does affect men," says Rebecca Fix, St. Mary's Women's Health Nurse Practitioner.

Doctors say that's why ALL people who have family history of breast cancer should be tested. Many insurance plans cover the price of the test, or part of it. Payment plans are also possible. When the results are in, the hospital can help with further treatment.

"There are certain steps that we can take to monitor and do continued surveillance and everything can be done right here with Ministry," says Fix.

This includes more frequent mammograms to surgery, if needed. In the past year, about 20 people have taken advantage of the testing.

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Hext Theater Owner Jim Hext, who serves as DRI's promotions director, says some store owners put signs up in front of their buildings, which made a big difference.

"A lot of traffic flowed to their businesses then because of the signage that they put up," Hext said.  "So this is in hope that people will kind of see that as well too."

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