It feels like the end of the world after being diagnosed with cancer. And it sure takes you by surprise if you have been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer. Luckily, there are some medical ways to check for the symptoms and risks to prevent cancer. For example, BRCA gene testing is a medical test that checks for various genetic changes (mutations) that can increase cancer risk.
If you need more knowledge or understanding of gene testing, this article is for you. Read on to learn everything about BRCA testing.
What is BRCA Gene Test?
BRCA gene testing is a blood test procedure that checks for your genes’ changes (inherited mutations). Two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, are tested to see if you have any mutations.
The test is typically performed using saliva, blood sample, or cells removed from the cheek inside. The examination reveals if you are at high risk of developing different cancer, especially breast and ovarian cancer. Addressing a harmful mutation in your body allows medical doctors to take the necessary steps to reduce cancer risk.
What are BRCA1 and BRCA2 Genes?
Genes are the essential elements of your DNA. It’s a part you inherit from your parents. Genes carry information that regulates your growth, appearance, and body system.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer), also called “tumour suppressors,” are genes responsible for producing protein and controlling cells in your body. This protein helps repair the damaged DNA.
Every human has two copies of BRCA genes – one inherited from the mother and the other from the father. Mutations in BRCA genes aren’t common. However, the doctor may advise you for BRCA gene testing if your family has a medical history of cancer risk.
Which Type of Cancers can You Get from BRCA Gene Changes?
Any changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can increase the risk of certain cancers. As a result, a gene test is done to determine if you have any changes or variants in your DNA.
Some common cancers diagnosed from harmful BRCA changes are;
Females are at a higher risk of having breast cancer than males. BRCA is an abbreviation of Breast Cancer Gene. So, it is clear that having a harmful variant of BRCA increases the risk of breast cancer.
Breast cancer and ovarian cancer are closely related. So, a female can get any of these cancers if they have an inherited BRCA mutation. An inherited mutation of hereditary breast cancer and BRCA1 or BRCA1 genes can strongly lead to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is a cancer of the female reproductive glands, “Ovaries.” This gland is responsible for producing female hormones and eggs.
Men with harmful BRCa variants are at increased risk for developing prostate cancer. Prostrate cancer is a cancer of the male reproductive organ. The prostate is a small ball-shaped gland that secretes seminal fluid for sperm transportation and nourishment.
A family history of cancers and mutation in BRCA can lead to pancreatic cancer. However, people with BRCA mutation are at a lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer. But, there are rare times you can get this cancer due to the BRCA mutation. In pancreatic cancer, the cells reproduce to form a sac of pancreatic tissues. As a result, it becomes difficult to digest food.
Not everyone who has contracted a harmful variant of BRCA1 or BRCA1 can get cancer. However, if you have found a harmful mutation in your genes, it is better to go for the BRCA gene test to plan the necessary steps to lower the cancer risk.