While there is a range of breast cancer risk factors patients need to be aware, inheriting a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation is considered one of the strongest indications a patient may face a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. Women with a positive BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have up to an 87 percent chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer during the course of their life. As such, it is natural for women to have questions about whether testing for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation is appropriate for them.
Dr. Janet Ihde, our surgical oncologist at the Chrysalis at Breastlink of Rancho Mirage, was recently interviewed about testing for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. Karen Devine, news anchor for KESQ-TV (ABC’s Palm Springs affiliate), asked Dr. Ihde:
- Should patients with a history of breast cancer in their family consider testing for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation?
- What are the implications of receiving a positive BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation result?
- Do patients feel empowered to learn whether they carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation?
In addition to an interview with Dr. Ihde the four and a half minute segment features two inspirational stories from women who tested positive for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.
It is also important to note that women who are carriers of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have up to a 44 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer by the age of 70.
Facts about Testing for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 Gene Mutation
- Every human has the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
- Only 1 in 400 to 600 women inherit a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.
- The test that determines if a patient has a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation requires a blood or oral rinse sample.
- Women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation account for roughly 5 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses.
- There is a 50 percent chance for a child of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation carrier to inherit the disease.
- The cost to determine whether one has a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation depends on the extent of an evaluation. The price range is from $300 to $4,000.
- The cost depends on whether a patient asks for a limited test or the full test.
- The limited test only evaluates a few areas of the gene.
- The full test examines hundreds of area on both genes.
Patients have different breast cancer risk factors. Genetic testing is not appropriate for all patients. It is important to talk to your medical provider to learn more about your risk of developing breast cancer.