Breast Cancer on the Run in October: (Day 2) Angelina Jolie and BRCA Testing
October 2: ANGELINA JOLIE AND BRCA TESTING
Angelina Jolie brought attention to BRCA (BReastCAncer) testing as nobody else could. This is a test that detects susceptibility to breast cancer as an inherited event. It is a test from saliva or blood that detects mutations in specific genes.
Carriers of a mutation have varying degrees of risk for breast. Lifetime risk of breast cancer can be as high as 80% depending on the mutation. Carriers of the mutation tend to develop breast cancer earlier in life. BRCA cancers tend to be more virulent.
Fortunately, very few individuals carry a mutation. Not everyone is eligible for the test. Not everyone who is eligible for the test wants to know the results.
BRCA testing represents the first foray for breast cancer into the examination of the human genome to define risk and predict disease development.
Basically, we are just dipping our toe into the futuristic waters. Other genes and combinations of genes with important input into the development or prevention of breast cancer have already been discovered and others will be discovered in the future. Therapeutic gene manipulation can’t be far behind.
For now we must recognized the genetic researchers who have labored for years on this project, as well as AngelIna Jolie for bringing needed attention to their efforts.