Many genes indicate an increased risk of getting cancer, and some simple tests can find them.
Just because your mother (or father) had breast cancer doesn’t mean you will. Being vigilant about protecting yourself could be wise, though, if the disease is in your family. But do you need genetic testing?
According to breastcancer.org, most inherited cases of breast cancer are connected to mutations on the BRCA1 (BReast CAncer gene one) and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer gene two). Everyone has these genes. Their role it is to repair any cell damage, including that which occurs in your breasts and ovaries. Essentially, these genes ensure that your cells grow normally. When they mutate, problems can occur.
Other genes are also known to be connected with an increased risk of developing cancer, and both fathers and mothers can pass them on to their children.
Basically, genetic testing can reveal if you possess any of the high risk cancer genes. And possibly others. It’s important to know however, that it isn’t conclusive. The process can’t tell you what your chances are of getting cancer or of avoiding the disease.
It may come as a surprise but your genes don’t present the whole story on cancer. According to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, most women who develop breast cancer don’t have an inherited gene mutation, nor do they have a family history of the illness.
Your chances of getting cancer rise if you possess the incriminating genes, but lifestyle factors and other mysteries seem to potentially play a possibly larger role.
Talk to your doctor about your worries. Find out what’s best for you. Solutions exist that could lower your odds of illness and provide peace of mind.