BRCA gene: getting the test, how it works

Woman holding up a sign with a breast cancer ribbon.

We have a very important message for you: ask your doctor if you are eligible for BRCA testing. Let us explain, BRCA stands for Breast Cancer Gene and all breast-owning humans have two types of them. Now don’t be alarmed, the genes themselves do not cause breast cancer but a mutation in these genes can impact a person’s chance of developing breast cancer. A mutation occurs when a gene becomes altered or broken.



According to the National Breast Cancer Organization, about 1 in 400 people carry mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, and people with a BRCA gene mutation are more likely to develop breast cancer.

For some people, the chances of developing these mutations are pretty low, for others, the chances are much higher, it all depends on your family history and ethnicity. For this reason, it is very important for you to determine where you stand regarding your risks of developing a mutation, and you can do this by consulting a physician and looking at your family history. Most experts recommend that only people with a heightened risk get tested for BRCA mutations.

There are other genetic mutations that can also increase your risk of developing breast cancer, which is why I want to stress again how crucial it is to consult with a doctor or genetic counselor. Having an early idea of the possibility of developing cancer can help you change your lifestyle if needed and also help your doctor guide you on what to do depending on your results. Early diagnosis is always key. So, don’t take your health for granted, make that appointment if you can.

Okay now back to the testing. It’s as easy as your doctor or genetic counselor collecting a blood or saliva sample to test your DNA, of course, your doctor will decide if you are fit to get tested. There’s also loads of information regarding all BRCA related cancers so take your time reading through the sources. Here’s a handy source:

Getting a BRCA Test | beBRCAware

So, get tested if you can! Take care of yourself, and let’s have these hard conversations. And hey, remember we’ve got our Breast Cancer Awareness merch. Your purchase will help us donate to The Latinx & BRCA Foundation, which helps women of color empower themselves about their health!

The information on this article was taken from The National Breast Cancer Foundation, INC. for educational purposes only and should not take the place of talking with your doctor or health care professional. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If you have any questions about your medical condition, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

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