Articles on Breast Cancer
What is the BRCA gene test?
- Every woman with a BRCA mutation is at high risk for breast cancer, irrespective of whether she has a family history of breast cancer or not.
- By age 80, a woman with a BRCA mutation has about an 80% chance of developing breast cancer.
- BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations also increase the risk of ovarian cancer, by 54% and 23%, respectively.
What role does the BRCA gene test have in breast cancer?
- The BRCA gene test analyses DNA to look for harmful mutations in two breast cancer genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2).
- Medical professionals perform this test as a routine blood test.
- The test should only be performed on patients who have specific types of breast cancers or have a family history suggesting the possibility of having an inherited mutation.
- These mutations are uncommon, and inherited BRCA gene mutations are responsible for about 5%-10% of breast cancers.
Who is a candidate for BRCA gene testing?
Discuss this with your health care provider or treatment team as this information is frequently updated. Guidelines for testing may include
- a personal history of breast cancer diagnosis at a young age, bilateral breast cancer, breast and ovarian cancer diagnosis, or a personal history of ovarian cancer;
- a family history of breast cancer at a young age (under 50) or ovarian cancer and a personal history of breast cancer;
- a family member with bilateral breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or both breast and ovarian cancer;
- a relative with a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation; and
- a male relative with breast cancer.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Salerno, K.E. "NCCN Guidelines Update: Evolving Radiation Therapy Recommendations for Breast Cancer." J Natl Compr Canc Netw 15(5S) May 2017: 682-684.
Shield, Kevin D., et al. "Alcohol Use and Breast Cancer: A Critical Review." Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Apr. 30, 2016.
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