Do You Carry a Gene for Breast or Ovarian Cancer? Cancer Screening Panels Can Help You Find Out
Let’s face it. All of us unfortunately know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. And when it comes to breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute, 12.4% of U.S. born women today can expect to be diagnosed with breast cancer at one point or another during their lives. While modifying certain behaviors can reduce a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime to some degree; certain risk factors, particularly hereditary ones, are not as easily overcome without taking drastic measures.
Although a cure for cancer has not yet been discovered, there has been at least one important medical advancement that has been made in the past few years that stands to increase early detection necessary to reduce the incidence of death. That advancement centers around the development of genetic testing to detect for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, two genes which, if present, are known to result incident rates of breast cancer in women barring preventative intervention being taken.
Risk Factors for Carrying the BRCA 1 or 2 Gene
Increased data collection over the past few years has aided in the adoption of certain cancer screening tests that can better forecast individual’s chances of developing cancer down the road. Those panels have lead to increased early detection, which has gone a long ways in forwarding the cancer awareness movement. One such impact it has had is within the area of breast and ovarian cancers and specifically the BRCA 1 and 2 genes. When it comes to risk factors that may make one want to consider having a BRCA genetic test done, they are:
- Having a female family member on either your maternal or paternal side who was diagnosed with breast cancer prior to age 50
- Having a female family member that has had both breast and ovarian cancer
- Having a female in the family that has had bilateral breast cancer
- Having a male in your family that has been diagnosed with breast cancer
- Being an African and having been diagnosed with cancer younger than 35 years old
- Being of Eastern European Jewish (Ashkenazi) heritage
- Having family members that have been diagnosed with pancreatic, colon, or thyroid type glandular type cancers
Testing for the BRCA (Breast Cancer) Gene
In an effort to reduce the incidence rate of death associated with late diagnoses, Beyond Urgent Care has partnered with Cutting Edge Genomics to offer breast cancer panel genetic testing. In scientific studies, the presence of BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes have been found to be the primary hereditary contributing factor for both breast and ovarian cancers among women. Cutting Edge’s breast cancer panel tests for precisely this.
Testing involves a simple saliva collection. If results show a gene mutation, then it indicates that the woman is most likely a carrier of one of the two genes, therefore giving her a higher risk of cancer. A woman testing positive for either the BRCA 1 or 2 mutation has an increased chance of developing breast cancer by age 70 by up to 65%. With those odds, the test is well worth the investment as it has the potential to greatly affect ensuing healthcare decisions and treatment.
This saliva-based test recently was recently developed as a quicker and less expensive alternative to the blood-based test that first gained popularity a few years ago. The blood-based test required a visit to a lab, ran several thousand dollars and would take one or more weeks to return results. Conversely, the saliva-based test can be done right here at Beyond Urgent Care, costs only a few hundred dollars and produces results in as little as two days.
If you’re meet some of the aforementioned risk criteria for breast or ovarian cancer and want to ensure that making all efforts to practice preventative care, contact Beyond Urgent Care for more information about our cancer screening panels. You’ll be glad you did.