Do Breast Cancer Genes Guarantee Cancer?

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What are the differences between BRCA1 and BRCA2?

While the two genes are part of a women’s risk of cancer, they are each different. In 1990 BRCA1 was found on chromosome 17 and in 1994 BRCA2 was found on chromosome 13. They both are responsible for an increased chance of getting pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer. The BRCA1 mutated gene can increase the chance of getting uterine, cervical, and colon cancer as well as triple-negative breast cancer. The BRCA2 is responsible for raising your chances of getting gallbladder, bile duct cancer, stomach cancer, and melanoma.


What makes you more likely to have mutations in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes?

The following conditions will let a doctor know how likely you are to have mutated BRCA genes:

  • If your mother, sister, or daughter had breast cancer
  • If any of the above developed breast cancer before the age of 50
  • If you have additional female relatives who had cancer such as an aunt or a grandmother
  • If your mom, sister or daughter had cancer in both breasts; if you have a male relative who developed breast cancer
  • If any females in your family had breast cancer as well as ovarian cancer.
  • Certain ethnic groups are at higher risk: Scandinavians, Dutch people, Icelandic people, and Ashkenazi Jewish people.

The testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes is usually covered by health insurance and it will help you to increase your early detection procedures such as mammograms, self-breast exams and exams at your gynecologist.
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