The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations are correlated with an increased lifetime risk of certain cancers. Although the idea of being tested for the genetic mutation can be intimidating, there are several benefits to testing.
Gain Peace Of Mind
You can't fight an unknown enemy and knowing whether or not you have the BRCA mutation puts more weapons in your arsenal. Although a negative test does not mean you will never develop BRCA-related cancers, you can feel more comfortable with a standard screening schedule. If you happen to test positive, knowing this information as early as possible can give you the tools necessary to detect cancer earlier when it is more treatable. For example, your screening schedule may change as a result of a positive BRCA test. You might need to be screened starting earlier than the average person. Additionally, a positive BRCA test is the time to consider if preventative surgery is right for you.
Guys Can Benefit Too
You might only think about BRCA testing as a concern only for women, but there are several reasons men should consider genetic testing. Men can carry the BRCA mutation and pass it on to their children, just like women. Furthermore, men with the BRCA mutation also have an increased risk of developing cancer, such as those affecting the prostate. Breast cancer is rarely a thought when it comes to men, but men can develop breast cancer, although it occurs infrequently. The BRCA mutation also increases a man's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. Just like women, men with the BRCA mutation might decide to have breast tissue removed to prevent the occurrence of breast cancer.
Improvements In Targeted Treatment
Even if you have not been tested, if you develop a type of cancer that might be associated with the BRCA mutation, your doctor will test you before administering treatment. This testing is important because a positive test may change your treatment plan. More treatments are available that are meant to specifically target cancers that result from the BRCA mutation. Since cancers with the BRCA mutation are generally considered to be more aggressive, starting with a targeted therapy may have a better outcome.
Although BRCA testing is purely optional, if you have family members with an early diagnosis of breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer, it is highly recommended you have the test. Thankfully, knowledge is power and the sooner you know, the quicker you can take steps to minimize your risk of cancer.
Contact a company like Gray Foundation for more information.