GENETIC TESTING BREAST CANCER
Data-driven medicine will evermore contribute to the control of cancer thanks to a deeper knowledge of genetics and disease. Cancer is not usually inherited but some types that include breast cancer can be linked to the genetic make-up of either one or both parents, to cause a family history of breast cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are a case in point. In mutated forms, they are both heavily related to an increase in breast cancer risk. But they are not the only genes.
In recent studies, more than 100 new gene variants have been identified as connected to an increased risk of breast cancer. Individually, the risks may be low but when combined, could become aggressive breast cancers.
As a mutated BRCA 1 carrier, you or your partner could also pass on that altered version to any of your children.
WHAT IF YOU KNOW CANCER RUNS IN YOUR FAMILY?
SPEAK TO YOUR GP IF YOU ARE WORRIED.
WHAT DOES GENETIC TESTING INVOLVE?
IT’S A TWO-STAGE TEST:
NB: There are some rare occasions when the genetic test has not found the faulty gene.
POSITIVE – A genetic change is known to cause disease was found.
NEGATIVE – A genetic change is known to cause disease was NOT found.
UNCERTAIN – It’s difficult to be sure with any new or uncertain variant in terms of its significance. Maybe there’s just not enough information about its impact to know whether it’s cancerous or not…yet.
IS GENETIC TESTING ACCURATE FOR BREAST CANCER?
Genetic testing is NOT 100% accurate.
If a test is negative, a person still has a chance of getting breast cancer. If the test is positive, there is still a 15 per cent to 20 per cent chance of not getting breast cancer.
Genetic testing is COSTLY, ranging from about $400 to more than $3,000, depending on the type of test you opt for. Costs about £1,500 in the UK.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ANY RELATIVES?
Although this means you have a faulty gene that raises the risk of you developing breast cancer, IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE GOING TO GET CANCER! This is only part of a very important story to your overall health but by no means, the entire one. There’s other stuff like,
AT THE SAME TIME BE AWARE OF THE FOLLOWING:
There are worries about DATA PRIVACY & ACCURACY that you need to know whether you’re in the UK, the US or living in anywhere else in the world – especially from a black perspective.
TAKING A ‘DO-IT-YOURSELF’ DNA TEST KIT
If you decide to do-it-yourself genetic test for breast cancer, schedule an appointment with your doctor ahead of time to discuss what you should do with the results when they come in.
If you have a friend or family member you feel comfortable sharing this experience with, explain your plan and ask if you can count on their support.
If you have the faulty BRCA1/2 gene, it’s time to heighten your awareness in the self-examination of your breasts. I know some of us don’t know how to feel our own breasts and check for lumps and bumps, but now is the time to learn. And stare at your body in the mirror and make sure you get to know more closely what your entire body looks. LOOK, FEEL AND TOUCH YOURSELF.
PLEASE NOTE, MOST BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSES HAVE BEEN FOUND BY A SELF-EXAMINATION SO DO GET ON WITH IT. LOOK, FEEL AND TOUCH TO SAVE YOUR OWN LIFE.
IF YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT BREAST CANCER LOOKS LIKE WHEN LEFT UNTREATED, PLEASE CLICK NAKED TRUTHS.