The BRCA test is an important part of making sure that we, as women, take every step possible to ensure our continued breast and reproductive health. The BRCA test helps identify any abnormalities in our BRCA1 and BRCA 2 genes. These abnormalities are associated with breast and ovarian cancer, so it pays to get tested and be aware of our risks.
I received $150 from Astra Zeneca, and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/AstraZeneca.
Cancer doesn’t run in my family, and I’m so grateful for that. However, not having a family history of cancer doesn’t preclude me from getting it. Nearly half of the women with ovarian cancer who are BRCA positive have no significant family history of breast OR ovarian cancer. That’s a sobering thought, and it’s why I think having the BRCA test is so important. I feel like the more knowledge I have about my body, the more empowered I am to do the things that can help me limit my risk for developing cancer.
The BRCA test is so important because it tests for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that can cause breast and ovarian cancer down the line. Be aware that having these gene mutations DOES NOT necessarily mean you will have breast or ovarian cancer. It does, however, raise you risk factor for developing these cancers. That’s why I think the BRCA test is so very important for ALL women to have done. Being armed with that information can help you take steps to reduce your risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer by limiting the risk factors that you CAN control.
Most women mistakenly believe that BRCA mutations only lead to breast cancer. While the majority of women with the condition who develop cancer will have breast cancer, about 15% develop ovarian cancer. Here’s a staggering statistic to put a finer point on it. 1.4 percent of women in the general population will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. However, up to 40 percent of women with BRCA1 and 2 mutations will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime. 40 PERCENT! It pays to know our risk! And BRCA gene mutations play a key role in serous ovarian cancer, the most common form of the disease.
Clinical guidelines recommend all women with epithelial ovarian cancer be considered for BRCA testing, but anyone can be tested. The test is incredibly simple, all it requires is a blood or saliva sample taken at your doctor’s office or your local lab.
It’s so important for us to be aware of what risk factors we can control and to have every shred of information we can. I really believe that we don’t pay enough attention to our breast and reproductive health. I know many women who have never had a mammogram, and I’m guilty of not doing self exams as often as I should. The same holds true for our reproductive health. An annual trip to the gynecologist is, of course, important, but we miss a key piece of information without the BRCA test.
SheSpeaks and AstraZeneca have partnered to raise awareness of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and the importance of the BRCA test with their #beBRCAware Program. This program aims to increase awareness of these genes and how important it is to be tested. Personally, I’m terrified of the prospect of breast or ovarian cancer. There are no guarantees in life, and that includes beating cancer. I want to watch my kids grow up and grow old. I want to see my grandbabies, so anything I can do to help make that happen is high on my to-do list.
I don’t have to tell you that breast and ovarian cancer is serious business. Both of these diseases forever change the lives of the person who is afflicted and their families. I think getting the BRCA test is one of the best things we can do to know our risks, mitigate them, and lessen our chances of contracting these diseases. Visit the #beBRCAware website to learn more about BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 and what you can do today to impact your health down the line.
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