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Cancer Prevention: Check Your Genes

Many learned about mutation tests in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes after the statement of Angelina Jolie, who made a mastectomy. However, such a radical solution to the problem is not for everyone. There are more gentle ways to prevent cancer. Which ones exactly?

Eliminate Cancer Threat

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are anti-oncogenes, or tumor suppressors. Their role in the body is to control the growth of cells in the mammary gland. However, if there are mutations in these genes, then they may not be able to cope with the protective function. Thus, the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer is significantly increased. The same Angelina Jolie had a breast cancer risk of 87%, after which she decided to get rid of her breast as a source of danger.

It is enough to take an analysis once to know if there are mutations in the genes. Several hundreds of variants are known for pathological changes, all of them affect cell growth in different ways. The most complete tests are done in laboratories in the USA and Israel, and in Russia they analyze genes for the most common mutations.

Who needs to do the tests:

– those who have already been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or breast cancer before the age of 35 years;
– if close diseases on the maternal side were diagnosed with these diseases;
– people in whose families there were several cases of any cancer;
– close relatives of those with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
Once a year – required

It should be borne in mind that not all cases of development of breast and ovarian cancer are associated with a genetic predisposition. Therefore, if there are no cases of oncology in the family, there is also no special need to spend money and time on genetic examination. It is better not to forget about the standard diagnostic kit – mammography and ultrasound. Ultrasound is recommended for younger women and has no contraindications at any age, including during pregnancy, but mammograms are best performed annually for women after 40 years.

How is the study going

The laboratory will take blood for analysis. No special preparations are required before delivery. The result will be ready in about 10 days. The list of studies of possible mutations will be marked “detected” or “not detected”. Keep in mind that a negative test for mutation of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes does not mean that a person will never get breast cancer, but the probability of its occurrence is much lower than with a positive test.

The share of “hereditary” breast cancer does not exceed 10%, and ovarian cancer – 15% in the overall picture of the disease. If the tests found mutations in the genes, this is not a diagnosis yet. The information received is not a reason for panic, but an additional tool for monitoring and early diagnosis. For a detailed analysis of the results and further actions, you need to consult with a specialist. And finally, about how much a test for breast cancer genes costs: in Moscow – from 4000 rubles, and in St. Petersburg – from 3500 rubles.

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