JScreen Brings Cancer Genetic Screening to Detroit

Photo by National Cancer Institute/ Unsplash

by Contributing Author

JScreen, a national non-profit public health initiative based out of Emory University School of Medicine, calls attention to JScreen Detroit, a JFamily program that aims to lessen the impact of cancer on Detroit’s Jewish community.

JScreen Detroit provides education and access to at-home genetic testing to determine a person’s risk of developing or passing down hereditary cancers. This June, JScreen Detroit and JFamily encourage Detroit’s Jewish community to get tested and take the first steps toward a healthy future for themselves and their families.

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Statistically, half of all men and a third of all women in the US will develop cancer in their lifetime. This translates to over 3 million people of Jewish descent across the U.S. and over 28,000 in Detroit alone.

Jews are at a significantly higher risk of carrying mutations in certain cancer susceptibility genes. Mutations in the BRCA genes are associated with increased risks for breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer.

JScreen’s CancerGEN test assesses the BRCA genes and more than 60 other genes associated with risks for many types of cancer. This robust cancer panel includes genes that are actionable, meaning steps can be taken to help prevent cancer if a person tests positive.

“JFamily offers educational opportunities and community around families’ happiest times, such as the birth of a first baby or sending a child off to college. But along with happy occasions come challenging situations, which

why at the core of our mission is a desire to offer support in times that families need it most,” says Stephanie Erez, Director of Education for JFamily Detroit. “When Lacey Foon approached the J Detroit with her idea to create a fund that would offset the costs of preventative genetic screening, we immediately said yes. Thanks to the generous support of the Lacey Foon Family Fund and the DMC Foundation, JScreen Detroit has subsidized over 170 testing kits to date.”

JScreen launched in 2013 with the goal of giving families and individuals the necessary tools to know and understand their genetic risks. JScreen has offered reproductive testing (ReproGEN) since 2013, helping couples understand their genetic risks while planning for their families. The program launched its CancerGEN test in 2021. By providing convenient, at-home access to cutting-edge testing technology, patient education, and genetic counseling services, JScreen strives to minimize the incidence of preventable genetic diseases.

Thanks to JFamily and the generosity of the Lacey FoonFamily Fund and theDMC Foundation, the JScreen program fees are being highly subsidized for the Detroit Jewish community as follows:

  • ReproGEN – $18 with code DetroitRepro (normally $149)
  • CancerGEN  – $36 with code DetroitPreventCancer (normally $199)
  • ReproGEN and CancerGEN combo: $54 with code DetroitScreens (normally $299)

The subsidized JScreen Detroit fees apply to individuals who provide their health insurance information, regardless of their coverage or deductibles.

Lacey Foon, a local breast cancer survivor, has been a strong advocate for cancer genetic testing ever since she discovered that she carries a BRCA1 mutation. When Lacey’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer related to the same mutation, Lacey chose to get tested as well, and thanks to her positive results, was able to seek out excellent medical care to address her risks. She now advocates for others to get screened so they can do the same.

Getting tested through JScreen is easy. All you have to do to receive your simple at-home test is sign up online at JScreen. You’ll then provide a saliva sample and use the pre-paid postage to mail it in. An important feature of JScreen’s program is its licensed genetic counselors who provide consults via phone or secure video conferencing to ensure that people understand their results.

“The knowledge of carrying my own gene mutation, BRCA, not only helped me to better understand the future of my health but also helped me detect cancer in the earliest stage,” says Lacey Foon. “Had I not known my genetic predisposition to breast cancer, I may have ignored the lump I found at just 32 years old and may not be here to raise my young twins. I feel so fortunate to have been in such an empowering position and thus use my experience to help others understand how genetic screening could assist in saving the lives of their loved ones and themselves.”

About JScreen

JScreen is a national non-profit public health initiative dedicated to preventing genetic diseases and cancers common in Jewish and other populations. Headquartered in Atlanta at Emory University School of Medicine, the JScreen initiative provides convenient at-home access to cutting-edge genetic testing technology, patient education and genetic counseling services. JScreen believes the combination of education, access to premier genetic screening technologies and personalized, confidential support are the keys to preventing devastating diseases.

Please visit JScreen.org for more information.