On Wednesday's edition of Lubbock's First News, Damini Dasai from the Joe Arrington Cancer Center talked with Tom Collins and Laura Mac about how genetics can actually increase the odds of cancer.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that normally serve to suppress tumors and help protect the body against cancer. But in some people, the BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 genes are mutated, resulting in a greatly increased risk for cancer, particularly breast cancer.

Dasai said the risk of contracting cancer with the mutation is increased as much as 78%, and that both men and women can inherit these mutations. However, she added that the mutation only affects less than 1% of the population, and that having the mutation does not automatically mean you'll get cancer, only that you're at a higher risk for it.

Early detection of the gene is vital to increasing a person's odds of fighting cancer. Dasai explained that the testing is very non-intrusive, requiring nothing more than blood draw or a mouth swab. In addition, she added that although the test itself can cost around $4,000, most insurance companies will cover the cost up to at least 80%.

For more information on genetic testing and counseling, call the Joe Arrington Cancer Center at 806-725-5101 to set up an appointment, or visit their website at covenanthealth.org.

Be sure and tune in to Lubbock's First News with Tom Collins and Laura Mac weekdays from 6 AM to 8:30 AM on NewsTalk 790 KFYO and online at KFYO.com.