About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Simple Blood Test for BRCA Gene Mutation Helps Save Lives

by Medindia Content Team on August 19, 2007 at 3:43 PM
Font : A-A+

Simple Blood Test for BRCA Gene Mutation Helps Save Lives

Celia Milner is a third generation cancer survivor. Now that she knows about a simple blood test to check for gene mutations, Milner is hoping the cancers will stop with her.

A breast-ovarian cancer gene test is a blood test that shows whether a woman has breast cancer or ovarian cancer gene mutations, known as BRCA 1 or 2, which increases a woman's chance of having breast, ovarian or other cancers.


September is National Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. More than 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year and more than 15,000 will die from this deadly cancer. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women.

"I didn't know that if you have a family history of breast cancer, a mutation could be the cause," said Milner. "Had there been greater awareness about the gene mutation, I would have asked for this test years ago and probably would have made the decision to have a full hysterectomy. A simple blood test could have saved our family a lot of pain."

As a result of Milner's positive test result, her sisters chose to take the BRCA test. Both tested negative. Milner hopes the negative test results will alleviate fears in her family.

Every woman is born with the breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA 1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA 2). For unknown reasons, these genes can mutate, putting women at increased risk for developing breast cancer compared with women who do not have these mutations, according to Dr. Tri Dinh, a gynecologic oncologist at The Methodist Hospital.

"There's also a 50-50 chance the mutated genes can be passed on to children, both girls and boys."

In Milner's case, her maternal grandmother had thyroid, breast and brain cancer. Milner's mother had breast cancer at the age of 49, which later metastasized into her ovaries and colon. Milner had breast cancer at 33. Now age 49, she's recovering from fallopian tube cancer, the rarest of all gynecologic cancers. The blood test showed Milner has the BRCA 1 gene mutation, which is associated with a 60-80 percent greater chance of having breast cancer.

Dinh says a positive blood test in someone who is already a breast cancer survivor means the patient could one day have cancer in the other breast. In patients with the BRCA mutation, he recommends removal of the ovaries after completion of child-bearing, in order to decrease the risk of development of ovarian cancer and decrease the risk of recurrence for breast cancer.

"If the patient is young, still of child-bearing age and doesn't have cancer, but tests positive for the BRCA mutation, I usually recommend increased medical surveillance through frequent mammograms and physical exams," said Dinh.

Dinh recommends patients with multiple family members who have breast or ovarian cancer should be tested for BRCA 1 and 2. Most importantly, education and awareness about gynecologic cancers and family history, as well as annual well-woman exams, are key to reducing the incidence of these diseases.

Source: Newswise

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Health Benefits of Sea Buckthorn
Contraceptive Pills in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Curtail Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Mushroom May Help Cut Down the Odds of Developing Depression
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
DNA Finger Printing Thalassemia Cystic Fibrosis Blood in Stools - Symptom Evaluation Bombay Blood Group Inherited Breast Cancer Syndromes Von Hippel-Lindau Disease / Rare Genetic Disorder How Do Viruses Mutate and Why Does it Matter? 

Recommended Reading
MRI Better Than Mammography in Diagnosing Breast Cancer at Early Stages
A new study states that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is substantially more accurate than ......
Contraceptive Pill Protects Against Ovarian Cancer for 20 Years
contraceptive pill is not just limited to inhibiting normal fertility, for a new study has found ......
Blood in Stools - Symptom Evaluation
Blood in stools results from bleeding that arises from any part of the digestive tract. Causes of bl...
Bombay Blood Group
Bombay blood group is a rare blood type in which the people have an H antigen deficiency. They can r...
Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease involving the mucus and sweat glands and the medical world has ...
DNA Finger Printing
DNA fingerprinting is a technique which helps forensic scientists and legal experts solve crimes, id...
How Do Viruses Mutate and Why Does it Matter?
Mutations are the sudden changes that occur in genetic materials. They occur as a part of evolution ...
Inherited Breast Cancer Syndromes
Inherited breast cancers are caused due to mutations in genes that increase the risk of breast cance...
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder passed on through parental genes causing the body to prod...
Von Hippel-Lindau Disease / Rare Genetic Disorder
Von Hippel-Lindau Disease (VHL) or Von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder caused by a...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use