Over the past few years, breast cancer has become a part of everyday conversation. I have close friends who have battled the disease at various levels, those who have had serious scares, and those who have a family history that leaves them apprehensive about a potential diagnosis.
After participating in the Komen 3 Day walk for breast cancer last year, I thought I had learned quite a bit more about this dreaded disease that affects so many women every single day. In that overwhelming sea of pink, there were also stories to be heard, and people walking in honor of lives lost and lives saved. I felt so empowered. I thought I had heard it all.
I thought wrong.
Last year the BRCA gene became more widely known thanks to what the press called “The Angelina Affect.” After choosing a double mastectomy upon learning she was a carrier for the BRCA (breast cancer) gene, women with a family history began to proactively test to find out if they were carriers for the gene. Yet there is so much more about the BRCA gene that women need to know. For instance:
– There are actually two BRCA genes.
– BRCA1 and BRCA2 are involved with cell growth, cell division, and cell repair.
– Although these genes are most commonly associated with Breast Cancer, approximately 15% of women with ovarian cancer also have BRCA gene mutations.
– Therefore, women who test positive for having BRCA gene mutations have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
– In the general population, just 1% of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Yet up to 40% of women with BRCA mutations will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime.
– Nearly one half of women with ovarian cancer who are BRCA-positive have no significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
We need to educate women about the interconnectedness of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, especially among those who test positive for the gene. The BRCA gene is not just the breast cancer gene. The BRCA gene is also the ovarian cancer gene.
Right now, all women with epithelial ovarian cancer be considered for BRCA testing. In fact, certain mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 can affect how you and your physician choose to manage ovarian cancer. The test is simply done by getting a blood or saliva sample, at a physician’s office or a local lab.
For women with ovarian cancer, Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance carriers cover the BRCA testing. Hopefully, someday soon, BRCA testing will be readily available for all women.
If you know someone with a history of breast or ovarian cancer, please talk to them about the connection between the BRCA gene and ovarian cancer. Please share this post, share this information with your friends and loved ones. Anyone who has questions or wants more information can visit myocjourney.com, to get information about diagnosis, BRCA gene testing, treatment plans, and support networks.
I received sponsorship from AstraZeneca for this post, and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience. I received $150 from AstraZeneca, and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/AstraZeneca. #beBRCAware