Thursday, July 22, 2004
Gene Testing
Yesterday my insurance approved gene testing for me.  This was no small feat and I am grateful for the assistance of my employer (especially Bob), our insurance broker, and the insurance company for moving very quickly on this.  Here are some interesting facts on why this is important.

We are each born with two copies of about 100,000 different genes.  One copy comes from your mother and one from your father.  The BRCA gene normally plays a role in preventing breast and ovarian cancer; however, if you are born with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation inherited from either your mother or your father, you are more susceptible to these two cancers.   For those women without the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, there is a 2% chance of developing breast cancer by the age of 50.  Those with either mutation have a 33 - 50% risk of developing breast cancer by age 50 and 56 - 87% by age 70.  (Source:  Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Salt Lake City, Utah)

Other facts about the positive BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations include:

-Women with a BRCA mutation also have a 27 - 44% lifetime chance of developing ovarian cancer.

-Women with BRCA mutation-caused cancer are at a greatly increased risk of developing a second breast cancer or ovarian cancer.

-BRCA mutations also increase the risk of breast cancer in men.

-Half of all women with a hereditary risk of breast cancer inherited the risk from their father, not their mother.  (Source:  Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Salt Lake City, Utah)

BRACAnalysis is not intended to be a screening procedure like mammograms.  It is intended for individuals with a high risk of breast or ovarian cancer due to family history or because they developed  breast cancer before age 50 or ovarian cancer at any age.  The results of this test will help guide my treatment by indicating whether more aggressive actions are necessary now to improve my quality of life for the rest of my life. 


Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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