Hi, I’m Dr. Daniel McDyer and I would like to discuss with you a revolutionary topic in women’s health that is known as testing for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancers. These tests, known as BR CA 1 & 2, or BRACA 1 & 2, check for mutations or changes in these 2 genes that increase the risk for breast and ovarian cancer.
These abnormalities are responsible for about 5% of all breast cancers and about 15% of all ovarian cancers. When a patient suffers from a mutation in one or both of these genes, her risk of developing breast cancer may be as high as 85% and her risk of developing ovarian cancer may be as high as 40%. These mutations are usually passed from parents to their children and affected individuals have a 50% chance of passing these mutations to their children.
You should consider getting this test if you or your close relatives have a history of breast or ovarian cancer or if you are of an Ashkenazi Jewish background with these risk factors.
What Does a Positive BRCA Gene Test Mean?
When patients are candidates for this test, they frequently ask me why they should have the test done and many fear the results. It is important to understand that a positive BRACA result does not mean that a patient will definitely develop breast or ovarian cancer. It simply indicates that there is an increased risk which allows us to develop a personalized plan for closely monitoring those patients or perform preventative interventions with medicines or surgery that can significantly lower the risk and save lives. As a matter of fact, you may have heard of some celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Christina Applegate who recently had their lives saved by having the BRACA test performed and learning that they had a BRACA mutation.
In order to provide patients with the most valuable, affordable and efficient BRACA testing, the doctors and scientists at Quest Diagnostics have developed a unique program called BRCAvantage to help guide you through this testing process. Like us, they believe that well-informed patients are empowered patients. This is why they have dedicated their services to provide outstanding educational resources and genetic counseling services to help patients determine if they should have the test performed and to help them understand the meaning of their results in partnership with us.