The first question I asked when they told me I had breast cancer was if Hannah was at risk. I'm afraid that I have "jinxed" her. The doctor mentioned testing for it. Two genes are responsible for breast cancer. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes encode proteins that can lead to breast cancer in women. BRACAnalysis is a new test that chemically analyzes this gene to detect if the patient is susceptible for the disease. This test is specific to breast cancer and is a reputable, formal way to detect the possibility of breast cancer. BRACAnalysis can be used to detect the possibility of breast cancer even if no symptoms or diagnosis has been found in the patient.
You've probably seen the BRAC (Be Ready Against Cancer) commercials. Did you know that people with Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Syndrome have up to 25 times the risk of breast cancer by age 50 and more than 22 times the risk of ovarian cancer by age 70. Knowing your risk can help you make better, more informed decisions about your health, before cancer has a chance to develop. You should consider testing for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) syndrome if you:
- Have had breast cancer before age 50
- Have 2 or more relatives who've had breast cancer
- Have a male relative who's had breast cancer
- Have had breast cancer in both breasts or twice in the same breast
- Have had breast cancer and are of Ashkenazi, or Eastern European Jewish, ancestry
- Have had ovarian cancer at any age
BRAC analysis is a means of looking for genetic indicators for breast cancer. This is important for those individuals who have a particularly high risk of breast cancer due to strong family histories. Quite often, this test will tell the participant that they have a 100% liklihood of developing breast cancer. The question now is not whether, but when? BRACAnalysis® results help women make more informed healthcare decisions—before cancer has a chance to develop. For example:
- A woman who knows she carries a BRCA mutation can start cancer screening at an earlier age. She can also choose options like risk-reducing medications and preventive surgery
- Doctors can help women move forward with the right action plan for their particular risks
- Women already diagnosed with cancer may be able to prevent a second cancer
- Test results can help relatives learn and understand more about inherited risk and how it may affect them
Again, please be vigilant with your health!