BRCA testing benefits women who are at risk for BRCA genetic mutations.
When the BRCA1 or 2 genes work properly, they produce proteins that suppress tumors. When they are genetically altered, or mutated, they may put your body’s cells at risk for genetic changes that can lead to breast and ovarian cancers. BRCA testing can identify the presence of these gene mutations.
Why do our Round Rock ObGyns test for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation?
Patients who have these mutations are not only at an increased risk for developing ovarian and breast cancer, but they also have an increased risk for developing uterine, colon, pancreatic, cervical, gallbladder and stomach cancers.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reports on the lifetime risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer if you have the BRCA mutation.
- Breast cancer—65 to 74% with a BRCA1 or 2 mutation
- Ovarian cancer—39 to 46% with a BRCA1 mutation; 12 to 20% with a BRCA2 mutation
Who should pursue BRCA testing?
BRCA testing often begins with a family member who develops breast or ovarian cancer. If this individual’s test indicates that the cancer was not caused by the BRCA gene mutation, the other family members may not need to pursue BRCA testing. If the test is positive, the tested individual should inform family members so they can have the test.
According to ACOG, while it isn’t extremely common, “approximately 1 in 300 to 1 in 800 individuals in the U.S. are BRCA carriers.”¹ In addition, certain populations may have a higher risk. ACOG estimates that 1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jews will have a BRCA mutation.
In addition to family history, there are other factors that should prompt patients to pursue BRCA testing with our Round Rock ObGyns.
- A diagnosis of breast cancer before the age of 50, a diagnosis of cancer in both breasts or recurring breast cancer
- Receiving a diagnosis of both breast and ovarian cancer
- Having a male relative diagnosed with breast cancer
- Family members who have been 1) diagnosed with breast cancer or 2) have received a diagnosis of both breast and ovarian cancer or 3) who have been diagnosed with two or more primary types of cancer associated with BRCA gene mutations—for example, a relative who has had both breast and colon cancer.
Testing—what to expect
BRCA testing is both quick and easy. Our Round Rock ObGyns direct your blood sample to a lab for analysis. If the test detects a BRCA1 or 2 genetic mutation, our Round Rock ObGyns will compassionately and attentively discuss options with you. For more information about BRCA testing, contact us.
¹The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists report on the lifetime risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer if you have the BRCA mutation. http://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/News-Room/News-Releases/2009/Routine-Screening-for-Hereditary-Breast-and-Ovarian-Cancer-Recommended