woman placing a pink ribbon on her chest

BRCA and How to Manage it

Usually, after a person tests positive for the BRCA mutation, it’s advised that they follow up with their healthcare manager to move forward with their treatment. 

BRCA testing is required when the patient has any personal or family history of carrying the BRCA mutation, and there’s a chance of inheriting the damaged gene leading to an increased risk of getting breast or ovarian cancer. 

BRCA testing involves a visit to the genetic counsellor who guides you to take the test based on a deep analysis of your personal and family history. Then, the test involves a doctor or a nurse inserting a needle in the vein of your arm to draw out blood for sampling. In the saliva test, some sort is collected and sent for further testing and comes in with quicker results than the blood test. 

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New treating methods for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene testing:

BRCA testing methods are now advancing. For example, Olaparib, coming under the name of lynparza, is a new medication that helps maintain the BRCA mutations causing cancer in adults. 

It is known to be a PARP inhibitor that stops the enzyme called ADP ribose from reacting, as it plays an essential role in DNA repair.

Cancer risk after a positive test result:

It means that you are indeed prone to breast or ovarian cancer. It is estimated that there’s a 45% to 85% chance of you developing breast cancer in your lifetime and a 10% to 46% chance of getting ovarian cancer. This ratio is much more than the average population affected by breast cancer, as it’s estimated that less than 1% of the US population gets breast cancer. 

It is, however, proven that people diagnosed with the BRCA1 or BRCA 2 gene mutation can help maintain their health through constant, careful, and timely follow-ups with the doctor have the chance of maintaining their health. 

Patients who have moved on from the breastfeeding and childbearing phase can discuss prophylactic mastectomy as a preventive measure. However, the option of mastectomy varies as per the level of the mutations of the patient and some other factors.

Patients over 40 are often advised to surgically remove the fallopian tubes and ovaries since the risk of ovarian cancer is very high at this age. According to doctors, this surgery can extend longevity.

Should the children get tested as the parent is positive for BRCA mutation?

Not really, as most genetically caused cancers are found in adults. After discovering you’re a carrier of this mutation, you don’t like to pass it on to your children. It’s best people get tested for BRCA mutations when they’re old enough to make their own decisions. 


People who have tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation should consider all options for maintaining their health with proper help from their oncologists. BRCA testing and finding the results can be challenging for most people; thus, having your family and friends by your side is helpful. Always consider BRCA testing after you’ve reviewed all advantages and disadvantages of the implications of the BRCA test.

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