BRCA + : Hereditary Predisposition Test to Breast, Ovary and Endometrial Cancer.
Knowledge is power. How many times have you heard that one? Do you believe it? We certainly do. This might lead you to believe that deciding to undergo genetic testing is an easy decision to make, but you’d be wrong.
Unlocking secrets in your DNA, may very well be empowering, but at the same time, it can also be overwhelming and yes, downright frightening.
If one of your parents has already tested positive for the BRCA1 or 2 gene mutation, then you have a 50/50 chance of testing positive as well.
Advantages of the BRCA+ Exam:
– Taken with a sample of blood or saliva sample.
– Results ready in 10 labor days
– Genetic counseling with the specialist at no additional cost.
– Women with no family history of breast cancer (male / female) and / or ovary
– Women with familial affection of family cancer syndrome
– Patients suffering from this type of tumors in order to determine their possible hereditary character
– Women ≥ 30 with no family history to determine genetic risk.
– it is not necessary to fast
Here are the advantages of seeking genetic testing:
If you have a family member with a confirmed abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene and your test result is negative, your genetic counselor may be able to tell you with greater certainty that you have the same relatively low risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer as people in the general population. Routine screening for breast cancer (self-exams, mammograms, doctor visits) will still be important for you, just as it is for all women. For ovarian cancer there are currently no widely accepted screening guidelines for women at average risk of developing the disease. Men with a negative test result know that they have the same extremely low risk of getting male breast cancer as men in the general population and the same relatively low risk of prostate cancer.
If you end up being one of the unlucky ones in this particular coin toss, then what?
These days, it might seem as if everyone who tests positive for these mutations is choosing prophylactic surgeries. Who can forget the media frenzy when Angelina Jolie announced she had chosen this route?
It’s important to remember that there are other options. Not every woman who tests positive for a BRCA mutation chooses prophylactic mastectomy, though these are the decisions/stories that do receive the most attention for sure.
If your test result is positive, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer, or try to detect these cancers early if they should ever develop:
- Talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking a hormonal therapy medicine such as tamoxifen, Evista (chemical name: raloxifene), or Aromasin (chemical name: exemestane), which could reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, or oral contraceptives, which could reduce your risk of ovarian cancer. While data is not clear on the safety of oral contraceptives in people at high risk for breast cancer, some doctors do recommend them for people with abnormal genes. This recommendation depends on factors including which mutation you carry and how much breast or ovarian cancer is in your family. Weigh the pros and cons of oral contraceptives with your doctor. You also may want to participate in a clinical trial on breast and/or ovarian cancer prevention to see whether other medications may be effective.
- You might take advantage of more frequent clinical exams and breast screenings — every 6 months instead of once per year — and ask for digital mammography (versus film screen mammography) and/or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) in addition to mammography. You also may wish to have regular pelvic exams and ultrasounds, and possibly a blood test called CA-125, in an attempt to detect any early signs of ovarian cancer.
- You may consider preventive (prophylactic) surgical removal of your breasts, ovaries, or both before cancer has an opportunity to form.
- If you do develop cancer, you and your doctor will be able to make treatment decisions that take your genetic information into account.
- You can contribute to research that could eventually help to prevent or cure breast or ovarian cancer if you have genetic testing as part of a research program or if you participate in other clinical studies.
- Knowing that you carry an abnormal gene linked to breast cancer risk may prompt you and your family members to make lifestyle and family planning changes or other decisions that could help lower cancer risk.
Men who test positive for an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene are considered to be at higher-than-average risk for prostate cancer. They can talk with their doctors about beginning screenings, including an annual digital rectal examination and PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test between ages 40 and 50. Men with a BRCA1 mutation should begin prostate cancer screening at age 40. Their risk of male breast cancer is still relatively low, but higher than it is for men who do not have an abnormal gene. Men should be sure to report any unusual breast changes or lumps to their doctors immediately.