If you have a family member with breast cancer, the risk of having an abnormal gene increases your risk of breast cancer. Let’s take a closer look at this fact.
What is a gene?
When conception occurs, the fetus inherits half of the genes from the father and the other half from the mother. Genetics determines factors such as skin color, eyes, hair. Also, the fetus can receive some pathological genes from one parent, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer.
Genetic breast cancer
When a family member has breast cancer, the risk of breast cancer is higher. Inherited abnormal genes can increase the risk of breast cancer. Gene mutations occur in two nuclear genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are the primary cause of breast cancer.
Usually, the two genes of BRCA1 and BRCA2 have an established effect to repair cell damage and help restore normal healthy breast cells. When mutations occur, they do not perform their function correctly and cause abnormal growth of breast cells. This unusual activity increases the risk of breast cancer and can inherit mutations for the next generation.
When should you take a genetic test?
You should take a genetic test if you are in one of the following situations:
- You have been diagnosed with breast cancer
- Breast cancer in men
- Screening for diagnosis at any age, especially for those with one more relative with breast cancer
- Family history of a bloodline with more than three types of cancer (including breast, colon and pancreatic cancer)
The implication of genetic mutagenic test results
Firstly, we want to claim that an adverse effect does not mean that there is no risk of breast cancer. And the positive result suggests that you are carrying either a mutation of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 or both genes. And it means that there is a risk of cancer. However, it does not mean that you are suffering from disease or is likely to get cancer.
The exact negative result means that a mutation has occurred in one or more family members, but you do not carry the mutation gene. So your risk of cancer corresponds to other women.
And last but not least, if the result shows that you have a genetic mutation but have no clinical significance, it means that you have a genetic variation. But it is unclear whether it increases the risk of breast cancer.
What to do when your test is positive for the BRCA mutation?
When you have a positive result for BRCA mutation, you should:
- Regular screening for ovarian and breast cancer
- Take medication to reduce the risk
- You can take the prophylactic surgery (remove the mammary glands or ovaries to reduce the risk of cancer
Breast cancer may be inherited. And genetic testing can help us carry the abnormal gene that increases the risk of cancer. And it is beneficial when someone in the family has cancer. And once you get a positive result, you should screen regularly for breast cancer to detect early or have methods to reduce the risk of cancer.