Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What Is BRCA1 and BRCA2?

Everyone has the BRCA 1 & 2 gene, however not everyone tests positive.  A positive BRCA gene increases the risk of certain cancers.
A mutation carrier (BRCA+) has an 87% chance of getting breast cancer vs. 8% for general population.
Chances of a BRCA+ getting Ovarian Cancer is 44% vs. <2% for general population.
Males WITH positive gene only have 8% chance of getting breast cancer and my father did.

Carriers of the BRCA1 gene mutation have a slightly increased risk of ovarian cancer compared to those with BRCA2. But BRCA2 carriers have risks of different types of cancers, including pancreatic cancer and melanoma. For men with the BRCA2 mutation, there's a heightened risk of both prostate and breast cancers.
You need to be tested for mutation if you have:
-Multiple breast and/or ovarian cancers within a family (often diagnosed at an early age)  
-Two or more primary cancers in a single family member (more than one breast cancer, or breast and ovarian cancer)
-Cases of male breast cancer

If no one or only one family member is diagnosed with one cancer (besides males) then its not necessary to do testing. Check breast monthly at home and when you reach 35yrs,  have regular mammograms.

Since my father was diagnosed with breast cancer in 06' , I was checked as blood relatives have 50% chance of having same mutation. 

If you are 18 or older and interested in getting checked, make an appointment with a geneticist or possibly your gynecologist. Test is only done by a company called Myriad. It is approximately $3,000 and is covered by most insurances. If someone in blood related family has already taken test then bring with you as it will only be around $300! Takes about 3-4 weeks for results.

Since finding I am BRCA2+, I have joined many support groups and have found how crazy critical it is to spread awareness. Don't think it stops at checking breast and running Komen races.
Most breast cancers and Ovarian cancers caused by mutated genes can be prevented!
Choices For BRCA+ Are:
Increased Surveillance (chances still 87%)
Chemoprevention (only reduces your already high risk approximately 50% and harsh on body; can cause uterine cancer if you stay on it for longer than five years.)
Preventive Surgery (significantly reduces)

One woman put it this way. "If you knew that a plane had an 87%  chance of crashing, would you get on it?" 

I personally don't see how it's a choice. I have two beautiful daughters under age six that need me.  

Myth: I'm too young to get Breast cancer. Fact: 25% of women with breast cancer are under 50. 

  With the help of a few previvors and survivors, I have tried listing helpful information (including an awesome Pinterest Board) on right side bar for a "1stop" info place.
Please let me know of any new sites, acronyms, etc. that should be added! As well as any questions you may have! If I'm not sure (and I'm still learning) I will help you find! 

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