If there are changes that take place within the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes, it’s called mutation. If there’s a gene mutation, there’s a significant raised risk of breast (men or women) and/or ovarian cancer. A blood test is given to individuals who have a history of breast or ovarian cancer in their family, or who have a specific type of breast cancer to determine if a mutation has occurred. If the individual tests positive, they’ll be sent to a genetic counselor, and talk about the options.
If you have fit into any of the following, you might have an increased risk of BRCA gene mutation. If this hasn’t already been brought up in appointments, contact your oncologist, or a genetic counselor and ask them about your situation.
- You or a close relative had pre-menopausal, bilateral breast cancer
- You or a close relative (mother, sister, daughter) had ovarian cancer
- Two or more relatives (aunts, cousins, parents, siblings, children) had breast or ovarian cancer
- A male relative had breast cancer
- You have a relative with a known BRCA1 or BRCA 2 mutation
- You have Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish ancestry and have had ovarian cancer, or close relative who has breast or ovarian cancer