It could be as if your world continues after a breast diagnosis or ovarian cancer . Even in this mental and emotional fog, a few more steps need to be considered. Creating a treatment plan is a big step, along with determining whether you need additional exams, such as: B. BRCA tests to look for specific genetic mutations that increase the risk of cancer. What you need to know about BRCA testing and who wants it after breast or ovarian cancer diagnosis is important.
In humans without genetic mutations, BRCA1
and BRCA2 genes generate proteins that help to suppress tumors by controlling cells' growth.
These proteins repair damaged DNA, which can otherwise lead to cancer, explains the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Thus, if your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are mutated, they may not be able to adequately repair the cell damage. As a result, your cells are more likely to develop more genetic mutations that can eventually lead to cancer . (For information: There are some BRCA mutations that are " ambiguous ") in which the experts are not yet sure if they increase the risk of cancer. Unless otherwise stated, these are only BRCA mutations known to increase cancer risk.)
BRCA mutations are present in 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers and about 15 percent of ovarian cancers involved after the Mayo Clinic . If one of your parents carries a BRCA gene mutation, you have a 50 percent chance of inheriting it, according to the NCI .
Although BRCA gene mutations may increase your risk of developing a variety of cancers, as with the pancreas, they are most likely to be associated with breast and ovarian cancer.
About 12 percent of people with ovaries in the general population fall ill at some point to breast cancer] NCI . A 2017 published study from JAMA in which 6,036 people with ovaries and BRCA1 mutations and 3,820 with ovaries and BRCA2 mutations were analyzed shows how these mutations affect this risk. According to the study, about 72 percent of people with ovaries and a BRCA1 mutation develop breast cancer before they reach the age of 80. For BRCA2 mutations, this number drops slightly to 69 percent.
The study also found that about 44 percent of people with ovaries with a BRCA1 mutation and 17 percent of those with ovaries with a BRCA2 mutation develop from the age of 80 ovarian cancer . This is far higher than the general population risk of 1.3 percent If you already have a cancer diagnosis, your specific risk factors may determine if you should receive BRCA tests.
Unfortunately, the development of a type of cancer caused by a BRCA gene mutation can have no effect. The risk of getting more BRCA-induced cancers in the future, says Stephen Rubin, head of Fox's Department of Gynecologic Oncology Chase Cancer Center, opposite SELF. "That's why we often recommend genetic testing," he says.
That does not mean that experts believe that anyone with a diagnosis of breast or ovarian cancer is tested for BRCA mutations. Your other risk factors will play a big role here. Generally, your doctor will recommend a test if any of the following applies to you, according to the Mayo Clinic :
- Diagnosing Breast cancer before the menopause or before the 50th. Year of life
- Three times negative breast cancer was diagnosed at the age of 60 or younger.
- Cancer in both breasts
- Both breast cancer and ovarian cancer
- . Ovarian cancer since it is ever present less frequently and more closely associated with BRCA mutations
- In addition to breast cancer, one or more relatives with breast cancer who are diagnosed at age 50 or younger, a relative with ovarian cancer or two or more relatives with breast or pancreatic cancer  Two or more close relatives, such as parents or siblings, were diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age
- In a male breast cancer relative
- In a family member with both breast and breast cancer Ovarian cancer has
- Ha a family member with cancer in both breasts
- With a relative with ovarian cancer
- A relative with a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
- Belonging to Ashkenazi (Eastern European) with a close relative, who has a breast, ovarian cancer or pancreatic cancer at any age  But some of that depends on your doctor. Some doctors will urge you to take a test if you have been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, while others may not be dependent on the type of cancer.
In both cases, you should only have the test done after a thorough examination. Information about the process and what the results might mean, says Susan Vadaparampil, Ph.D., MPH, a senior researcher in the Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior at Moffitt Cancer Center, opposite SELF. For example, a positive result does not mean that you are definitely getting breast cancer or ovarian cancer. A negative result does not mean that you absolutely will not get it. A doctor or genetic counselor can walk you through whether the BRCA test makes sense for you or not.
When you perform a BRCA test, the physical procedure should not be complicated.
Ask your doctor how to prepare for the test B. by collecting as much information as possible about your family history (and your own).
During the test, a doctor will either take a blood or saliva sample, according to the Mayo Clinic . "Then it's off to a test lab," says David Cohn, M.D., a gynecological oncologist and chief medical officer at Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center – the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and the Richard J. Solove Research Institute. The results should be available in about two to six weeks. Vadaparampil.
Waiting For The Results Can Be Extremely Emotionally Harsh Because a positive or ambiguous outcome may feel like it feels like you're destined to get more cancer in the future. This is the time to really rely on your support system, such as your oncologist, your genetic counselor, your loved ones you trust, and any cancer support groups you may belong to.
If your test shows a BRCA mutation, your doctor or genetic counselor may discuss with you the results and next steps that you should consider in addition to your cancer treatment, such as a risk-reducing surgery in which Both breasts, your ovaries and / or your fallopian tubes (where many ovarian cancers actually arise) are removed. You can also discuss what this means for your family. Cohn says you want to share your findings with all blood relatives and encourage them to consider genetic testing and counseling.
If your doctor has recommended BRCA testing and you are on the fence, Dr. Rubin to consider how important it is. "I tell patients that knowledge is power," he says. "Knowing that you do not have or do not have these mutations can do a lot."