A new genetic testing kit that hits the market today is the most affordable, and arguably one of the simplest, ways for women to find out if they have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Here is what women should know about BRCA gene mutation testing, including how it works, who should actually consider getting it and the new convenient test that one woman already credits for helping detect her cancer early.
What are the BRCA genes?
The two BRCA genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) normally help protect women from cancer, however, some women may have mutations to their BRCA genes, which can actually lead to cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If untreated, women with a BRCA gene mutation are seven times more likely to get breast cancer, and 30 times more likely to get ovarian cancer before the age of 70, when compared with women without the gene mutations, according to the CDC.
Should everyone take a BRCA gene test?
Medical professionals say no.
The BRCA test is “absolutely not recommended for every single person,” according to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News chief women’s health correspondent.
She identified the criteria doctors want people to meet before being tested for BRCA, including:
1) A family history of someone having a positive BRCA mutation.
2) Ovarian cancer at any age in the family.
3) Breast cancer before the age of 50.
4) Triple-negative breast cancer before the age of 60.
5) Male breast cancer in the family at any age.
6) People of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.
7) People who have had two or more cases of breast cancer, one occurring before the age of 50, on their mother’s or father’s side of the family.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against routine BRCA gene testing for women who do not have a family history associated with an increased risk for potentially harmful mutations in the BRCA genes, the group of preventative care experts wrote on their website.
The USPSTF does, however, recommend that women who have family members with breast, ovarian, tubal or peritoneal cancer should receive genetic counseling, and BRCA testing if recommended after counseling.
The Color BRCA gene test
While the new Color BRCA genetic mutation test is not the only BRCA genetic test on the market, at $149 it is currently the cheapest, making gene…