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Beat breast cancer with help from genetic testing

Modern genetic testing can help beat cancer. BRCA 1 is one of two genes that greatly increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Women who have a family history of breast cancer may choose to be tested for BRCA 1. If they carry the gene they can take action, such as more frequent screening, lifestyle choices, or in some rare cases such as Hollywood celebrity and BRCA 1 carrier Angelina Jolie a preventative mastectomy.

JHAH patients who have one or more of the below genetic markers are eligible to request a BRCA 1 genetic test from their Primary Care Physician.

Genetic markers for BRCA include:

  • Two first-degree relatives with breast cancer, one of whom was diagnosed at age 50 or younger (mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter are considered first-degree relatives)
  • A combination of three or more first or second- degree relatives with breast cancer regardless of age at diagnosis (aunt, uncle, grandparents and cousins are all considered second-degree relatives)
  •  A combination of both breast and ovarian cancer among first and second-degree relatives
  • A first-degree relative with bilateral breast cancer
  • A combination of two or more first- or second-degree relatives with ovarian cancer, regardless of age at diagnosis
  • A first- or second-degree relative with both breast and ovarian cancer at any age
  • History of breast cancer in a male relative

Source: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Genetic risk assessment and BRCA mutation testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility: recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med 2005; 143:355. Graphic 57434 Version 4.0

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