Cancer of the breast is very common. American women have a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetime. The risk, however, is much higher for those women who have other family members with these types of cancer.
Genetic testing has been available for many years. The test is called a BRAC Analysis. It is done as a simple blood draw or an oral swish to obtain DNA samples. The test looks for the two cancer susceptibility genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women and men who are positive for either of these gene mutations are at much higher risk for breast cancer, breast cancer in the opposite breast and for women, ovarian cancer. The onset of these cancers is typically earlier for those individuals with mutations in one of these susceptibility genes.
|BRCA Mutation||General Population|
|Male Breast Cancer||6%||0.05%|
|Breast Cancer in the opposing breast or reoccurs in the same breast||48-64%||2-11%|
The SIU Breast Center staff use the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines listed below to identify those persons who qualify for genetic testing.
- Diagnosis of breast cancer age 45 or younger
- Diagnosis of breast cancer age 50 or less with one or more close blood relatives with breast cancer also diagnosed under the age of 50 and/or a close relative with ovarian/fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer at any age
- Bilateral breast cancer diagnosed at age 50 or less
- Diagnosis of breast cancer at any age with two or more close blood relatives with breast and/or ovarian/fallopian tube/peritoneal cancer at any age
- Personal history of male breast cancer or close male relative with breast cancer
- Diagnosis of ovarian/fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer at any age
- First degree relative with known BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation
- Susceptible ethnic background (Ashkenazi Jewish)
The medical providers at the SIU Breast Center can help you determine whether you are a candidate for genetic testing using the guidelines.
The genetic counseling and obtaining the specimen is done by the Nurse Practitioner. For complicated cases requiring further genetic investigation, a clinical geneticists and board certified genetics counselors with expertise in breast cancer genetics are also available.
All insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid provide coverage for genetic testing when the above guidelines are followed. There are laws in place that prevent discovery of your test results by anyone other than your medical providers and discrimination by insurance providers or employers. These are the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) laws.
If are interested in genetic testing or have further questions, please contact the SIU Breast Center at 217-545-7432.
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