Not wedding related– has anyone been tested for the BRCA gene?

posted 3 years ago in Wellness
Post # 3
Member
3378 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I had genetic testing done through 23andme.  They do cover breast cancer factors though not the big 2 BRCA snp’s that everyone is gung ho on.  My risk was lower than normal.  However, like you say, having the gene mutations doesn’t mean that they are active and causing issues.  Lots of other factors play into it.  The use I’m finding in knowing my genetics is to help me lead a healthier life based on my risk factors.  I applaud people like Angelina for really taking the initiative in their own health and doing what feels best for them, but for me that’s way too drastic of a move.  If I had been in her shoes, knowing that I had the markers for it, but no indications of it, I’d use the information to change my diet/lifestyle in such a way that I minimize my risks as much as possible and keep it in the back of my mind to watch for flags.

Post # 4
Member
71 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

I would like to have it done, but without a strong family background it costs thousanda of dollars, and 1 grandparent with breast cancer isn’t too bad. But I’d definitely do it with your family history, even if it’s just to know to be hyper-vigilant. 

For me, if I had one of the very increased risks of cancer, I think I’d take aggressive action, but if I wanted to have children in the future, I guess I’d wait until afterwards if possible, with very regular checkups.

Post # 5
Member
451 posts
Helper bee

My mother and I both tested and both are positive for BRCA1. My mother and Grandmother both had breast cancer in their early 30s and ovarian cancer in their 50s. I absolutely recommend having it done. While I’m not choosing to have a preventive mastectomy or hysterectomy, the risk associated with being BRCA positive is significantly higher than the general population. If diagnosed with the gene your insurance covers not only preventive mammograms but also breast MRIs and transvaginal ultrasounds of the ovaries. I’m checked every 6 months now and have more confidence than had I not had the testing that anything would be caught early. Plus it’s encouraged me to take preventive measures. #1 factor- weight. Fat produces estrogen. I did have my children before age 30 and breast fed both for a year (fewer periods, lower chance of ovarian cancer). As I’ve gotten older I’ve switched from birth control pills to an estrogen free IUD). 

You really need your Gyn to refer you to a genetic counselor within your hospital group so you can easily be referred to a breast care specialist/surgeon for closer following. I actually feel better knowing I’ve got it with close monitoring than I did before knowing I had my head in the sand pretending it wasn’t an issue. As far as family planning, yeah earlier rather than later. I’m 40 and getting remarried soon. We’ve discussed having a baby but based on my age (risk to the baby and risk of estrogen speeding any cancer growth I might have) it is very unlikely we will move forward. 

Sorry for the length but please do this is you have a family history on either side if the family. Your father can pass the gene on to you as well. 

Post # 6
Member
451 posts
Helper bee

Plus… Please get tested NOW. Don’t wait until after children.  Even if they advise against children you can still choose to have them and be monitored much more closely. My mothers breast cancer recurred while she was pregnant with me. Yes, they advised an abortion which she refused. But she also was able to begin treatment within a week of my birth. If she didn’t know her risk (through a previous diagnosis) it would’ve been much later stage when caught with a possibly much worse outcome. Is you find you have the gene you will be monitored closely throught pregnancy until 6 months to a year later when it’s caught by routine mammogram. 

Post # 7
Member
989 posts
Busy bee

@Jennybenny16:  I would definitely go for the testing, given your strong family history. A girl I worked with tested positive for this gene, and has an extremely high risk. Prevention is far better than cure, or at the very least, you can be closely monitored until you decide what action to take.

Post # 8
Member
1381 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@Jennybenny16:  I’m not sure if this is what you’re looking for, but my husband was tested after his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer – he tested positive. Not sure how that affects a male differently than a female. We went ahead and started an AFLAC Cancer plan. It’s come in handy because he’s already been diagnosed and treated for skin cancer.

Post # 9
Member
584 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

I was tested and it seemd I don’t have it! I feel very blessed, since I have a strong family history and for me it would be a factor in planning my fertility (I would have considered freezing my eggs and having preventative surgery– personally I’d rather have done that than had children early or waited on surgery.)

I’m very glad I did it and although I’ll still do screenings, it’s helped me worry less and plan.

Post # 10
Member
1355 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013 - Vine Street Church

My gynecologist is seeing if my insurance will pay for BRCA testing because my maternal aunt has had two primary breast cancers and my paternal grandmother has had breast cancer as well. I’m hoping they’ll pay for it, but if they don’t, we’ll see if we’re able to pay for it from my HSA.

Post # 11
Member
451 posts
Helper bee

Costs : Medicare paid for my mothers full testing (about $1300). She had had breast cancer. Once they found the allele location during her testing, they only had to check my sample at the same spot (about $300). That could be helpful if your insurance won’t cover it. 

Post # 12
Member
1896 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

@Jennybenny16:  My mom had BC so she was tested for it (negative). Since BC has only popped up on her side of the family, her doctor said it wasn’t necessary for me to be tested as well.  

Post # 16
Member
8592 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I have not but I would consider it if I had a strong family history.  Out of my mother, grandmothers, great grandmother (paternal side), and 5 aunts…no one has had anything.  So I see no reason to for me.

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