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BRCA Test Assesses Women's Cancer Risk
If my BRCA test is positive, will I get breast or ovarian cancer?
"A positive result indicates that you've inherited a significantly increased risk for developing breast and/or ovarian cancer," says Tejash Patel, M.D., board-certified Oncologist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.
BRCA analysis assesses a woman's risk of developing these specific cancers based on the detection of inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
Studies show about 1 in 800 women in the general population will have a BRCA gene mutation. Certain criteria are in place to help identify which individuals are at a higher risk of carrying the altered gene.
Dr. Patel recommends testing be considered for women who have close relatives - either male or female - who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, or close relatives with ovarian cancer. His recommendation is especially strong if cancer occurred prior to age 50 in these family members.
The test can be performed in a doctor's office where a blood sample is collected and sent to a laboratory specializing in BRCA testing.
If the test is positive, treatment options include increased frequency of check-ups, including mammography, breast MRI, transvaginal ultrasonography or, in some cases, prophylactic surgery.
"There are a number of variables involved when reviewing test results. That's why I can't overemphasize the importance of pre-test and post-test counseling with a doctor who is knowledgeable in cancer genetics," concludes Dr. Patel, who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold's North Houston Campus and Main Campus locations.