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A 42-year-old member asked:

what are some things doctors look for in a brca test and what are its ramifications?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Barry Rosen
General Surgery 34 years experience
Mutations: The brca test can identify carriers of the mutations associated with the hereditary type of breast (& ovarian) cancer. Depending on the mutation (and sex of the patient) there are different risks of these cancers--this is best discussed w/a genetic counselor. One can then decide to have preventive surgery (mastectomy, oophorectomy), take risk-reducing medication, or close surveillance.
Dr. Devon Webster
Medical Oncology 22 years experience
Mutation=cancer risk: People with mutations in the brca1 or brca2 gene are at higher risk of developing certain cancers. With a mutation, the lifetime risk of breast cancer is 41 to 90%, and ovarian cancer is 8 to 62%. Pancreatic and prostate cancer are more common as well. If you are a woman and test positive, you will have to consider having your ovaries and breasts removed. Genetic counseling is key!

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Last updated Jan 16, 2014
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