Genes are sections of our DNA which contain information that make up each of us - our features and traits. This is why each and every one of us is unique just the way we are. Our genes were passed on to us from our parents when we were born. In the same way, we pass them on to our children. 1
Knowing BRCA status even though you have cancer can help you make informed decisions about your treatment options. In some instances, you may be eligible for targeted therapies specific to your type of cancer. It can also help inform your family members of their risk of developing cancer.
Family history doesn’t always predict cancer risk or the chance of carrying a BRCA mutation. In fact, a study conducted in Malaysia called the MaGiC study showed that more than half of ovarian cancer patients with BRCA mutation do not have a family history. The only way to confirm if you have a BRCA mutation is to get tested. 2
Age is not a predictor of whether a person has BRCA mutations for some cancers. In fact, a study conducted in Malaysia called the MaGiC study showed that there’s no correlation between age of diagnosis and the probability of carrying a BRCA mutation for ovarian cancer patients. For some cancers, regardless of the age of diagnosis or family history, it is never too late to get BRCA tested. 2-5
Some cancers like prostate and pancreatic cancer in men can be linked to BRCA mutation. Breast cancer can also develop in men. Men can also pass on BRCA mutation to their children. Therefore, understanding your BRCA genetic status can help inform family members about their risk of developing cancer.5
–– George Bellows ––
If you are interested to know more about BRCA genetic test, consult a genetic counselor for more information.