Breast Cancer Screenings: Is BRCA1 & BRCA2 Genetic Testing for You? by Kim Kusiciel
I am a BRCA carrier and have gone through preventative care as well as increased breast cancer screenings prior to surgeries. Through my experience, I have learned so much about BRCA testing. Here are some things I would like you to know:
- What is BRCA? BRCA stands for BReast CAncer susceptibility genes. Everyone is born with them, however if you carry a mutation of the genes known as BRCA1 or BRCA2, then you have an increased risk of ovarian and breast (for both genders) cancers, as well as a potential risk for other cancers.
- Am I at risk? If you have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancers, you should talk to your doctor. You are also at a higher risk if you were previously diagnosed with breast cancer before 50 or if you have had multiple breast cancers.
- What is the test like? First, you’ll meet with a doctor to go over your family history. If warranted, a simple blood or saliva sample is taken and sent to the lab.
- What’s next? While you are waiting for your results, breathe and stay positive.
You can learn even more about BRCA by visiting Cancer.gov here.