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What’s become increasingly clear as science and medicine continue to evolve is that some diseases can be caused by or influenced by one’s genes, some of which might be passed down and/or shared among family members.
The risk of developing ovarian cancer, as an example, is increased if your mother or sister has or had ovarian or breast cancer, and women with a certain mutation in the BReast CAncer susceptibility (BRCA) gene have up to a 39% chance of developing ovarian cancer by age 70. Normally BRCA genes work to suppress tumors from growing. However, when these genes are mutated, they are no longer able to help suppress tumors, leading to an increased risk of cancer.
Mutations in the BRCA gene are associated with a variety of cancers such as breast, ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.
Knowing your BRCA mutation status can inform you of your cancer risk, but it can also be a source of guilt and an emotional barrier when it comes to discussing risk status with family members because of the possibility of passing the mutation, and in turn the increased health risks, on to one’s children.
WEBSITE: Understanding BRCA
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