Cancer gene test results good news for area family

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 18, 2007

The results of genetic testing for a father and daughter, whohave battled breast cancer together, turned out to be good news,the woman said Thursday on national television.

Conservationist, entertainer and radio host Paul Ott Carruth andhis radio co-host and daughter, Carla Tigner, were featured on aspecial Breast Cancer Awareness segment of NBC’s “Today” show thismorning. The pair were on the show to reveal the results of agenetic test that could reveal if Tigner was a carrier of a genethat could mean she was predisposed to cancer.

“It was negative on both counts,” said Tigner, who had receivedthe results earlier in the morning by phone from her oncologist Dr.Grace Shumaker. “I’m so excited.”

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Being negative for the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes means that thelikelihood of Tigner’s children, Drew Holland, 16, and Carr, 14,having the gene are remote.

Chief medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman explained thatwas good news for Tigner’s family. However, at the same time,because of the family’s history of cancer, they should still bediligent about taking care of themselves and their medicalhealth.

Carruth, who tested positive for the BRCA 2 gene a few monthsago, lives in Lake Dixie Springs and the Tigner family is in theprocess of moving from Brookhaven to Nashville.

Tigner was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 42 andunderwent a bilateral mastectomy (the removal of both breasts) andseveral rounds of chemotherapy. Her father was diagnosed withbreast cancer in May 2007 and underwent a mastectomy. Tigner’smother and Carruth’s wife, Alberta, died of ovarian cancer when shewas just 44.

Even though breast cancer in men is rare, Carruth said his twosons will definitely be tested for the genes in the nearfuture.

“I guess I’ve become the poster child for men’s breast cancer,”Carruth told “Today” host Matt Lauer.

Carruth said he didn’t feel a stigmatism associated with breastcancer and having a mastectomy, like a woman would.

“It’s (breast) part of the body,” he said. “It’s not lessmasculine. It doesn’t bother me at all.”