Breast cancer: Is genetic testing for you?

mammogram breast cancer istockEstimates show that about 12% of women in the general population will develop breast cancer, but 60% of women who have inherited a mutation at BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (genes that are a type of tumor suppressor) will develop breast cancer. Got your attention?

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce proteins that suppress tumors and repair damaged DNA. A mutation at one of these genes means that DNA damage isn’t repaired correctly, and cells are more likely to continue to develop alterations that can lead to cancer.

Genetic testing can give you a better idea of your risk. If you have a mutation at one of these genes, you have the benefit of knowing how to be proactive! Your doctor will set up regular screenings (mammograms, breast exams, ultrasounds) to be able to catch any problems early on. Certain  drugs, diet changes and lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. And there are plenty of clinical trials out there for those with known mutations at these genes- researchers are working to gather as much information as possible so the implications of mutated BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can be understood.

Check this out! A mouse research study in North Carolina intends to determine  whether or not transmission of the mutated genes can be prevented!

What about you? Would you want to know?

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