Genetic Testing For Inherited Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Did you know that up to 24% of women with ovarian cancer has inherited genetic mutations? September is ovarian cancer awareness month and October is breast cancer awareness month, so this is an important opportunity to discuss getting tested for an increased cancer risk could potentially get you life-saving treatment.

Tumor-Suppressing Proteins

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce tumor-suppressing proteins. These proteins help repair damaged DNA, playing a crucial role in the stability of the cell’s genetic material. When either of these genes is mutated so that its protein product is not made or doesn’t function right, DNA damage may not be repaired properly. As a result, cells are more likely to develop additional genetic alterations that can lead to cancer.

Inherited Genetic Mutations

Specific inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers, as well as increased risks of several other types of cancer. Combined, BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for about 20-25 percent of hereditary breast cancers and around 15 percent of overall ovarian cancers. Cancers associated with these mutations tend to develop at younger ages than the nonhereditary counterparts.

Importance of Genetic Testing

Testing is of the utmost importance to families that have even one member who has experienced breast or ovarian cancer. When caught in the early stages, ovarian cancer has a 90 percent survival rate, unfortunately, it’s a sneaky cancer that is more often than not only found in the late stages. This is why it is called the “whispering cancer.” Currently, there are no effective screening methods for ovarian cancer but being aware of whether you have the gene mutation will help you and your doctor keep a close eye out.

For more on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 risks and testing, visit cancer.gov.

To learn more about our DNA testing services, contact ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City today.

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