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Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2019: Are You BRCA Positive? Signs You Carry the Cancer-Causing Gene Mutation

Angelina Jolie. (Photo courtesy: Twitter)

The medical community was stunned by what became known as the Angelina Jolie effect. In 2013, the Hollywood actress announced that she had removed both her breasts to avoid breast cancer, of which she was at 80 percent risk. She did this to focus on the BRCA (BReast Cancer) gene and to encourage more women to undergo tests. His efforts paid off. Within 15 days of Jolie's announcement, the BRCA test increased by 64 percent. And a study by Weil Cornell Medicine and the University of New South Wales in Australia showed that there was a spike in number or preventive mastectomy three months after Jolie's announcement. The phenomenon became known as the Angelina Jolie effect, which analyzed the risk of breast cancer in women. During the ongoing Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2019, let's understand what BRCA is and do you take risks.

What is BRCA?

BRCA means the Brett cancer gene. There are two different types – BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes usually affect a person's chances of developing breast cancer. Genes themselves prevent cancer. They work by repairing the breakdown in DNA that can lead to cancer. Therefore, they are called tumor mitigation genes. Early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer: easy ways to identify the disease.

A small percentage of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations occur to people, which occurs when gene malfunctions occur. This puts them at greater risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

What is the difference between BRCA1 and BRCA2?

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are located on different chromosomes. The former is found on chromosome 17 and the latter on chromosome 13. Although both are involved in preventing tumors, the BRCA1 mutation increases the risk of breast, ovary, pancreatic, cervical, uterine, and colon cancers. And BRCA2 is associated with an increase in breast, ovarian, bile duct, pancreatic and gallbladder cancer. It also increases melanoma risk. Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2019: Does Bra Cause Breast Cancer? Here is the truth.

Who is at risk of BRCA mutations?

Anyone at risk of BRCA mutations should regularly test themselves for cancer and consider preventive procedures. These signs point towards BRCA mutation risk.

• If any member of the family has ovarian and breast cancer.

• If multiple relatives on both sides have had breast or ovarian cancer.

• If relatives are diagnosed with ovarian or breast cancer at an early age.

• If a male member has had breast cancer.

• If first-degree relatives – parents, siblings or children – have had breast or ovarian cancer at an early age.

• If you belong to Ashkenazi (Middle-Eastern European) Jewish ethnic group.

What if you are BRCA positive?

If you are tested positive for BRCA gene mutation, you will naturally be more at risk for some cancers. But many people carrying gene mutations never develop breast cancer in their lifetime. But despite being tested positive, one can stay one step ahead of cancer through routine testing and early diagnosis. Preventive surgery or mastectomy – where one or both breasts are surgically removed – is an option.

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