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A Difference Made for One Patient

Sonnia Kesser has seen cancer affect several members of her family.

Her aunt died from breast cancer at age 51 and her mother died at 48, also from breast cancer.
Sonnia’s gynecologist, Katherine Kent, MD, knew Kesser’s family history and referred her to UVA’s High-Risk Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program.

“I felt like I needed to do something and find out if I was at risk,” says Sonnia, a mother of two children and spouse of UVA otolaryngologist Bradley Kesser, MD.

Sonnia met with gynecologic oncologist Susan Modesitt, MD, and Susan Jones, a dedicated cancer genetic counselor.

As part of the clinic’s comprehensive counseling and risk evaluation, she was tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2, the most common genetic mutations linked to a higher inherited risk for breast and ovarian cancer (though other unidentified genes may play a role in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer).

Sonnia tested negative for these mutations. However, because of her strong family history, she’ll return to the clinic every six months for a mammogram and a breast MRI, along with screenings for ovarian cancer. For Sonnia, the test results helped provide some peace of mind.

“It is just a sigh of relief,” she says. “While I’m not risk-free, I’m not in the super high-risk population where I may have to do some of the preventive measures, like a preventive mastectomy or having my ovaries removed. It spared me a lot of heartache and really tough decisions to make.”

Learn More

Find out more about UVA’s High- Risk Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program.

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