Hudson Alpha Institute offering genetic cancer screenings

Hudson Alpha Institute offering genetic cancer screenings
(Source: WAFF Staff)
(Source: WAFF Staff)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology will be the first to offer genetic cancer screenings for an entire community.

It's part of their Information is Power Initiative. The one year program is offering free genetic cancer testing for some Madison County women and everyone else gets a big discount.

"If you're a 30-year-old female, and you live in the city of Huntsville the city of Madison or Madison county the test will be free," said Troy Moore, Chief Scientific Officer for Kailos.
Kailos, a genetic testing company under the Hudson Alpha umbrella, is conducting the screenings.

Researchers are asking Madison County women who are 30-years-old to sign up for a testing kit online and wait for a purple package in the mail.

"It'll be a bright purple envelope and inside that envelope will be a collection kit, that has the instructions," said Moore.

The test will determine if you're at an abnormally higher risk for breast, ovarian, colon or uterine cancer.
"The test themselves are highly accurate," said Moore. "So, we're looking for changes in your DNA and we can detect those at 99. 9 percent accurate."

WAFF 48's Tiffaney Bradley went to Hudson Alpha to see what the test was all about.

First, she watched a video online explaining the DNA testing and how it works.

After the video, she wiped each side of her mouth cheeks for 20 seconds with the two cotton swaps inside of the purple envelope.

Moore said the two swabs will ensure researchers get enough of your cells for a DNA sample.

"Taking some cells off your cheeks and there's not very many of those so we want to make sure that we collect enough to run the test," said Moore.

The kit is then sent off to the lab for testing. Moore said 10 days after they receive your kit, you should get your results back.
"Most people who get this test are going to end up with a negative result because the types of things we're looking for are rare," said Certified Genetic Counselor, Kelly East.
East said you're not out of the clear for getting cancer if you're test is negative. 

That's because your genetics is only one contributing factor of a cancer diagnosis, but if you're test is positive, a genetic counselor will call you.
"What can we do to change things about how you're being screened," said East. " And, how you're managed to either try to prevent the onset of cancer or detect it at an early or more treatable stage."
East said the DNA test can be life saving.
Hudson Alpha is also encouraging men and women of any age in Madison and Limestone counties to get tested.

It's only $99 dollars for people living in Madison County and the surrounding area.

The test aren't available until after October 30, but you can order online now.

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