Genetic testing is terrifying when you have cancer

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Genetic testing is terrifying when you have cancer

Many people with cancer find that the idea of genetic testing brings up feelings of fear and dread.

Learning that you have cancer is shocking. During treatment, the last thing you want to consider is having cancer ever again.

But for many of us who’ve been diagnosed, especially at a young age, it’s a prospect we must confront.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago at age 31, genetic testing was part of an initial battery of tests. If I was a carrier of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, it would mean that a double mastectomy was without a doubt my course of treatment. Having those mutations predisposes women to developing breast cancer at a young age, as well as in both breasts. Despite what many people think, breast cancer is typically not hereditary, but mutations like these account for many of the familial cases. Only an estimated 7% of breast cancers are caused by mutations of this gene.

But here’s the rub: carrying the BRCA gene mutations put your likelihood of developing ovarian cancer up to 40% (the probability is higher with BRCA1 than BRCA2). Many of my friends who have the mutation have been advised to have their ovaries removed by the age of 40 as a preventative measure. In some cases, BRCA mutations are also linked to a higher likelihood of pancreatic cancer and melanoma.

Read Full Article: Genetic testing is terrifying when you have cancer — Quartz

Read Full Article: Genetic testing is terrifying when you have cancer — Quartz

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