BRCA is known as the “BReast CAncer” gene. Currently, there are two known mutations, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that will increase your chances of getting breast and ovarian cancer. They are associated with many other types of cancer, as well. It is, likely, that there are many other unidentified mutuations (BRCA3, BRCA4,…). Testing is available to find out if you have one of these genetic mutations (contact your health provider for further information).
Can men carry a BRCA mutation?
YES! Men can carry the genetic mutation, AND they can pass it on to their children. In men, BRCA1 and BRCA2 have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer.
How do I know if I should be tested?
According to the Cancer Institute, here are risk factors that should help you determine whether to test:
- Two first-degree relatives diagnosed with breast cancer, with one of them before age 51. First-degree relatives include your mother or sister;
- Three or more first- or second-degree relatives diagnosed with breast cancer. Second-degree relatives include your grandmother or aunt;
- A combination of first- and second-degree relatives diagnosed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer;
- A first-degree relative diagnosed with cancer in both breasts;
- A combination of first- or second-degree relatives diagnosed with ovarian cancer;
- A first- or second-degree relative diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer;
- A male relative diagnosed with breast cancer;
- You are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and have one first-degree relative diagnosed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer;
- You are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and have two second-degree relatives on the same side of the family diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer.
As always, go to your health care provider with any questions or concerns you have about your risk.
What are your odds of cancer if you have a BRCA mutation?
The answer to this question varies. Here is one graph that estimates the odds.
What is HBOC?
HBOC is the acronym commonly used for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
What is BRCA World?
BRCA World is a website for those affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. It was creator and all of its contributors are a part of the hboc community.
Who runs BRCA World?
Shannon Litchy created the website and attempts to manage it. You can find her bio on the Contributors Page (http://brcaworld.com/contributors/); read her previously posted story (http://wp.me/p3VPz8-L); or follow her on twitter @SLLitchy.
How can I contact those who write for the website?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! If you are interested in contributing to the site, we are always looking for new perspectives to share, please email us at the address shown.