LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Getting tested for breast and ovarian cancer is an important topic for women and in this Medical Monday segment, Dr. Kay Chandler explains how genetic testing is helping women prepare for health issues later in life.
Genetic testing involves taking a sample of blood, cheek swab, or tissue in order to analyze a person's genes. Genetic testing can be used to determine if someone has a change in their genes (mutation) that make them more likely to develop certain diseases such as cancer.
"Hereditary cancer syndrome" describes an inherited gene mutation that increases the risk for one or more types of cancer. The main hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndromes are caused by mutations in one of two genes: BRCA1 or BRCA2, which substantially increase the risk for breast and ovarian, and slightly increase the risk for other cancers.
Signs of an hereditary breast-ovarian cancer syndrome in a family include, but are not limited to any family member with:
-Breast cancer before age 50
-Ovarian cancer at any age
-Both breast and ovarian cancer
-2 or more breast cancers, one under age 50
-Male breast cancer
-Bilateral breast cancer
-Women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent with breast or ovarian cancer at any age
-A previously identified BRCA mutation (in a family member)
Several different cancer syndromes have been identified, each with a particular set of signs. If the cancer in your family may be hereditary, it is important to consult with a genetics expert.
Costs run about $3,000 but insurance does typically cover it if you qualify.
(Source: FacingYourRisk.com and Myriad.com)