It’s the first FDA-authorized genetic-cancer-risk test available without a doctor’s note.
The “tour de force” technique is supercharging the search for dangerous genetic variants.
Do you have a family or personal history of breast cancer? If so, it's important to learn if and when you should get gene testing.
Ten things to think about when you speak to your doctor...
The greater point is that this sort of genetic information matures. And that the BRCA issue is just a tip of the iceberg, on universal genetic testing.
Today we know more about the BRCA genes, thanks to the decades-long work of Mary-Claire King and others, than about risks of disease conferred by most other human DNA variants.
Learning that you have cancer is shocking. During treatment, the last thing you want to consider is having cancer ever again.
But for many of us who’ve been diagnosed, especially at a young age, it’s a prospect we must confront.
Once survival odds and quality-of-life issues are discussed, and it’s time for a woman to make her final decision—to remove one breast or two, to have a lumpectomy or mastectomy, to reconstruct or not, silicone or saline—we would step back and honor her choice. And why not? She’s the only one who is, we hope, going to live with it.
One can ponder the potential application of these kinds of drugs in breast cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and other malignancies, and how these agents might be combined with immune-oncology and other agents. It’ll be hard (impossible) testing all of the possible permutations in conventional clinical trials.
The world breaks down into two camps, my genetic counselor said: people who want information, and people who don’t. I’ve been writing about gene testing and genomics for a long time, but as I navigated my own recent journey in genetic testing, I learned why that divide will probably remain the biggest hurdle to achieving the promise of genomics.
I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.
A Silicon Valley start-up with some big-name backers is threatening to upend genetic screening for breast and ovarian cancer by offering a test on a sample of saliva that is so inexpensive that most women could get it.
After a decades-long trend toward less invasive surgery, patients’ interest in removing the unaffected breast through a procedure called contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (or C.P.M., as it’s known in the trade) is skyrocketing, and not just among women like me who have been through treatment before.
Despite progress, genetic profiling of tumors has a long way to go.
Most women with lots of risk factors will never get breast cancer, and many without the big risk factors will get it nonetheless. In other words, many of the standard risk factors (early puberty, late menopause, obesity, older maternal age, obesity, smoking) are fairly useless. The reason is that we still don’t know really know what causes breast cancer. But at least most of us don’t have Jolie’s BRCA gene (it occurs in 1 in 500 people), and for that, we should be thankful.
Knowing that you have a genetic mutation for breast cancer empowers you to make an informed decision about how to reduce your risk. If you don’t have breast cancer but find out you have an abnormal BRCA gene, one option is to have a double mastectomy (surgical removal of both breasts) as a preventive measure (as actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie did a few years ago). Another, equally valid, option is to be followed much more closely, with the goal of catching cancer early should it develop.
The BRCA experience in real time.
Blog on risk, cancer and anxiety.
Support when you need it.
This blog is intended to offer support to other carriers, foster awareness and acceptance of preventative options, generate discussion on public health issues, and keep friends and family in the loop...
FORCE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
If you get tested and you're negative then it is one less thing to worry about. If you are positive the doctors will watch you like a hawk. Don't worry about making any decisions-everyone has a different situation, "journey" I like to say. This is just mine.
More to come.
The skinny on being a young breast cancer survivor and carrier of the BRCA1 gene mutation.