For many people, if they have heard about genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes at all, most will relate to BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic testing and its relationship to hereditary breast cancer. Media also contribute to the overall knowledge; often emphasis in reporting BRCA1 and BRCA2 stories is placed on reducing breast cancer risk. However, there is another cancer risk associated with carrying a BRCA gene mutation that may not be the first to be addressed – an increased risk for ovarian cancer.
Women who carry a mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 have a lifetime risk for breast Continue reading →
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in June 2013 that naturally occurring human DNA cannot be patented, after hearing a case centering on patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes held by Myriad Genetic Laboratories. The decision led to several new laboratories beginning to offer testing of the BRCA genes, but also highlighted a related problem with interpreting results from the testing. Freeing genetic data can help.
Why would freeing your genetic data help?
Interpretation of genetic test results is a complicated process that depends on available data and some amount of comparison with results from other patients and families. Many scientists have advocated for use of open databases where research and commercial laboratories could come together to share results.
Combining data from many sources increases the ability to understand results for individual patients. Researchers and health care providers have been contributing information about BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations to the National Center for Continue reading →
Ovarian cancer is an aggressive disease that has a profound impact on the women who battle it and the families who support them
Approximately 1 in 70 women, or 1.4%, will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime. In most cases in the United States, a woman’s ovarian cancer is not diagnosed until it is in the later stages of the disease. At that point, few women are able to live longer than five years. In contrast, women whose ovarian cancer is diagnosed at earlier stages have up to a 90% chance of long term survival. As a result, ovarian cancer research continues to focus on ways to detect ovarian cancer when it is still in the earliest stages to give women the best chance to survive.
Ovarian cancer and early detection
There are many challenges to detecting ovarian cancer early. Each year in the United States approximately 1 in 2,500 women Continue reading →
BRCA gene mutations have been in the news this week since Angelina Jolie announced she has the BRCA1 gene mutation and opted to have a bilateral mastectomy to reduce her risks of developing breast cancer. She became aware of her risk because her mother developed breast cancer in her mid-40s and died at age 56. What exactly are the so-called breast cancer genes and who should be tested to see if they are a carrier?