BRCA Gene Testing Helps Determine Risk For Developing Breast Cancer
10/07/2011

October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month brings nationwide attention to the topic, providing health care professionals the opportunity to remind women to be vigilant about their breast health. For some, genetic testing can be just one of the valuable tools in the fight against this deadly disease.

Online PR News – 07-October-2011 – – BEAVER DAM, WI – October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month brings nationwide attention to the topic, providing health care professionals the opportunity to remind women to be vigilant about their breast health. For some, genetic testing can be just one of the valuable tools in the fight against this deadly disease.

Breast cancer affects nearly 1 in 8 women, and about 20-30% of women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease. A woman’s risk for developing breast cancer is greatly increased if she inherits a harmful mutation to the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. Genetic tests are available to check for these specific changes in the genes that help control normal cell growth. According to the National Cancer Institute, women carrying harmful BRCA mutations have a 60% chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetime, a staggering statistic compared to the 12% risk of the general female population.

BRCA testing requires a simple blood sample or swab of the mouth, and is recommended for women with certain multiple risk factors in their family health history. These include either a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer or a family history of multiple incidences of breast or ovarian cancer, breast cancer under the age of 50, breast cancer in both breasts, male breast cancer, and certain ethnic backgrounds. While BRCA testing requires that a patient have specific risk factors, any woman with a personal or strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer should discuss screening options with their doctor.

“Women who qualify for BRCA testing typically have a combination of risk factors,” says Andrea Bushaw, MSN, WHNP, APNP, women’s health nurse practitioner at Beaver Dam Women's Health. “We regularly discuss breast cancer and its risk factors with all of our patients while providing the tools and resources necessary to make informed decisions about their care.”

If a potential issue is detected from the BRCA testing, it may lead to earlier mammogram screening, breast MRIs or surgical interventions. Every case is different, and requires a very specific, tailored approach.

Beaver Dam Women’s Health is the only health care provider in Dodge County that provides BRCA testing. The clinic will provide free information on BRCA testing and tips for overall breast health at the Dodge County Women’s Expo on Thursday, October 20, 2011.

Established in 1995, Beaver Dam Women’s Health is a family-owned health clinic that provides high-level obstetric and gynecologic care for women. Beaver Dam Women’s Health is located in Beaver Dam, WI (705 South University Avenue, Suite 300) - (920) 885-6090. For more information on Beaver Dam Women’s Health and their services, go to www.BDWomensHealth.com.