The BRCA genes function to keep breast cells growing normally and to prevent cancer-cell growth. Scientists have identified mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene that can make someone susceptible to developing breast and/or ovarian cancer at some point in their life. When these genes contain the mutations, they do not function normally, and cancer risk increases. Mutations in these genes can be passed from either parent to their children.
A blood test, or a cheek swab test called BRCAnalysis®, can determine if someone carries a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation and empower him or her to make informed choices about risk reduction surgery such as prophylactic mastectomy. Our office can help arrange for this testing for women at risk.
Women who have a strong family history of breast cancer but who do not carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations should keep in mind that a significant proportion of all hereditary breast cancer may be caused by mutations in genes other than BRCA1 and BRCA2. In other words, if you are “BRCA negative” but have strong family history of breast cancer, you may have inherited a different gene (for which a test to identify it does not exist) that puts you at higher than average risk for developing breast cancer.
Please c ontact us if you would like to make an appointment and learn more about BRCA gene testing, your options for risk-reducing prophylactic mastectomy or reconstruction with perforator flaps such as the DIEP flap.