Should You Get Genetic Testing for Breast and Ovarian Cancer?

Were you aware that at least 24% of women with ovarian cancer inherited some sort of genetic mutation? Since September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we have the perfect opportunity to discuss how getting tested to find out if you have an increased cancer risk could potentially result in you receiving life-saving treatment.

Genetic Testing for Cancer Risks

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that produce tumor-suppressing proteins. These proteins help fix damaged DNA and play a crucial role in the cell’s genetic stability. When one or both of these genes are mutated so that the protein product fails to be created or is incorrectly made, the damage to your DNA may not be repaired properly. As a result, cells within your body are more likely to develop genetic alterations that can lead to a high cancer risk.

Inherited Genetic Mutations

Specific stability mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers, as well as several other cancers. When combined, BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations result in about 20-25% of hereditary breast cancers and around 15% of ovarian cancers. These mutations tend to cause cancers in younger patients than the nonhereditary counterparts.

Why is Genetic Testing Important?

Genetic testing is extremely important for families that have at least one member who has experienced breast or ovarian cancer. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, after skin cancer. Getting a regular mammogram can help patients quickly catch breast cancer, even before it has the chance to spread.

Ovarian cancer has a 90% survival rate when it’s caught early. Unfortunately, it’s a silent killer that is more often found in later stages. It’s so quick and quiet that it has been caused the “whispering cancer.” Modern medicine doesn’t yet have an effective screening method for ovarian cancer. However, knowing that you have a genetic mutation will alert your doctor and help you stay aware of your health.

To understand more about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 risks and genetic testing, visit cancer.gov.

Test Smartly Labs provides confidential and accurate DNA tests. To learn more about our DNA Testing Services, contact Test Smartly Labs today at (816) 800-9699. We have five lab locations in the greater Kansas City area!

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