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BRCA GENE TEST FOR BREAST CANCER

The BRCA gene test is a blood test that uses DNA analysis to identify harmful changes (mutations) in either one of the two breast cancer susceptibility genes — BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Women who have inherited mutations in these genes are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer compared with the general population.

The BRCA gene test is offered only to people who are likely to have an inherited mutation based on personal or family history, or who have a specific type of breast cancer.

The BRCA gene test isn’t routinely performed on women at average risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

A BRCA gene test determines whether you carry an inherited BRCA mutation. If you do, your result is positive and your doctor can help you understand your cancer risk. If you don’t have a mutation, this is considered a negative result.

WHAT IS BREAST CANCER?

As in all forms of cancer, breast cancer is made of abnormal cells that have grown uncontrollably. Those cells may also travel to places in your body where they aren’t normally found. When that happens, the cancer is called metastatic.

Breast cancer usually begins in a small, confined area or glands, which produce milk (lobular carcinoma) or the ducts (ductal carcinoma), which carry it to the nipple. It can grow larger in the breast and spread through channels to nearby lymph nodes or through your bloodstream to other organs. Cancer may grow and invade tissue around the breast, such as the skin or chest wall.

Different types of breast cancer grow and spread at different rates — some take years to spread beyond the breast, while others grow and spread quickly.

  WHO GETS BREAST CANCER?

Men can get breast cancer, too, but they account for less than 1% of all breast cancer cases. Among women, breast cancer is the most second most common cancer diagnosed in women after skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths after lung cancer.

On average, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. About two-thirds of women with breast cancer are 55 or older. Most of the rest are between 35 and 54.





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