Do I Need to Get Tested for the BRCA Gene?

Nearly everyone knows someone who has or has had breast cancer in their lifetime. The disease doesn’t discriminate between genders — anyone can be diagnosed. Every 1 in 500 women get diagnosed with the BRCA gene, the genetic mutation that causes breast cancer. In this month’s blog, we turn the tables on the BRCA gene and diagnose *it.* Let’s take a closer look at who and when needs to get tested.

What Is It?

Genes are the body’s version of your genetic instructions: they’re reponsible for what makes you, you. The color of your eyes, skin color, if you have freckles, etc. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation test is a blood test done to tell if a patient is at high risk of developing breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women.

Who Should Get Tested

Genetic testing is not needed for everyone. The main reason people get tested is because someone in their family tree has either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

The BRCA1 gene mutations are associated with the risk of:

  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer

The BRCA2 gene mutations are associated with the risk of:

  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Melanoma

One can not physically give cancer to their children, but a parent with either of the two gene mutations is able to pass that mutation to their offspring. Review your family history with your trusted medical professional, and they will understand what the best option for you is. Speaking with a medical professional will provide you with the most well-rounded and trusted information.

Someone in your family may have the BRCA gene mutation if:

  • Two or more close relatives has been diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50
  • A male relative has breast cancer
  • A female relative has had breast and ovarian cancer
  • Any 1st or 2nd degree relative have had ovarian cancer
  • You are from Eastern European Ashkenazi descent and a close relative has breast or ovarian cancer
  • If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 50

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s a good idea to get tested for gene variations as gene variants may be to blame. These test results can guide your physician on the best way to treat the cancer.

When to Get Tested

There is no specific age to be tested for the genetic mutation. It’s up to you when you want to get tested, if you do, as a positive test result can be a life-changing moment — a lot to take in mentally.

If you or someone you know wants to get tested for the BRCA gene mutation, book an appointment and visit Adriatica Women’s Health at our McKinney or Prosper, TX offices.
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