Monday, March 23, 2015

What You Should Know About BRCA Mutations -- Remember...Knowledge is Power!! #beBRCAware @beBRCAware @SheSpeaksUp #Sponsored

Disclosure: I received $150 from AstraZeneca, and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/AstraZeneca.





It is hard to find someone who has not been affected by cancer in some way -- either battled it themselves (1 or more times) or watched someone very close to them (friend or family) go through it.  For me, I have lost many family and some dear friends to various types of cancers including breast, pancreatic, colon and even ovarian cancer, among others.  And, if you follow my blog, then you have probably read a post or two about my own cancer journey with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a rare cancer that affects 2% of the US population - go figure I get dealt a rare form of cancer.  But, I stand before you today not only as a survivor (almost 7 years in remission), but also as a advocate for cancer education and awareness.  Prior to becoming a stay at home mom and blogger, and before I went through radiation and chemo treatments to kick cancer's butt, I was a health educator and passionate about teaching the community about health topics including cancer as it was all too familiar to me.


During my time as a health educator, I helped start a breast cancer support group, which in turn turned into a larger support group that dealt with various women's cancer, including ovarian and endometrial cancer.  I used to be in awe of the women who would attend the weekly support group meetings, all of varying ages from late teens to women in their 80's (many of whom battled 2 or more cancers in their life).  Just hearing their stories and what they went through, while staying positive, really was inspiring and made me take a step back and cherish my life. 



If only I had known that a few years later that I would be facing cancer myself and then sitting down in a similar support group circle sharing my journey.  


Being proactive with your health is a must nowadays with the rise of cancer, especially with women.  Taking a small step like getting tested, while it may be scary to get the results, may just save your life, or the life of someone dear to you -- as the sooner cancer is detected, the sooner treatment can begin. Being a cancer survivor myself, I know how precious life is NOW and will do anything I can to stay educated about cancer and gene mutations like the BRCA gene mutations, so that I can be proactive with my health and the health of my family and friends.  

Ovarian cancer support

Did you know?...
  • Women with BRCA gene mutations have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer4
  • In the general population, 1.4 percent of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer4, while up to 40 percent of women with BRCA 1/2 mutations will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime5
  • Nearly one half of women with ovarian cancer who are BRCA-positive have no significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer7

View more beBRCAware videos like the one above over at Youtube.


What is a BRCA gene?

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes involved with cell growth, cell division, and cell repair. Although they are most commonly associated with BReast CAncer, approximately 15% of women with ovarian cancer also have BRCA gene mutations.1,2

Who should get tested for the BRCA gene?

Clinical practice guidelines recommend that all women with epithelial ovarian cancer be considered for BRCA testing3. The test is simple and easy. A blood or saliva sample can be taken at your physician’s office or at a local lab. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance carriers cover BRCA testing for women with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Certain mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 can affect how you and your physician choose to manage ovarian cancer.


Important BRCA Facts:

  • Women with BRCA gene mutations have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.4
  • In the general population, 1.4 percent4 of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, while up to 40 percent of women with BRCA 1/2 mutations will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime.5
  • An estimated 15% of ovarian cancers are linked to BRCA mutations.1,2
  • BRCA gene mutations can play a key role in serous ovarian cancer, the most common form of ovarian cancer.6
  • Nearly one half of women with ovarian cancer who are BRCA-positive have no significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer.7
  • Help spread the word about the connection between the BRCA gene and ovarian cancer. Information is powerful and can affect the way cancer is treated. Share campaign information on your social networks with the hashtag #beBRCAware to let other women know the facts above, especially:
    • Women with BRCA gene mutations have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer4
    • In the general population, 1.4 percent of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer4, while up to 40 percent of women with BRCA 1/2 mutations will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime5
    • Nearly one half of women with ovarian cancer who are BRCA-positive have no significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer7
Has cancer touched your life?  Even if it hasn't, I hope you take time to slow down and educate yourself about BRCA gene mutations, see if you should consider getting tested for the BRCA gene.  



I hope you will join me in helping spread the word about the connection between the BRCA gene and ovarian cancer. Information is powerful and can affect the way cancer is treated.   You can learn more about ovarian cancer and BRCA awareness by visiting myocjourney.com (this site provides information about diagnosis, BRCA gene testing, treatment plans, and support networks that may be helpful to these women now and can help alert more women to what they need to know about BRCA and ovarian cancer), as well as the BeBRCAware Community on Facebook.

And, if you do share my post or facts about BRCA gene mutations and testing on your social media pages with family and friends, be sure to tag @beBRCAware and use hashtag #beBRCAware, so your message is spread to more women. 



References:

1. Pal T, Permuth-Wey J, Betts JA, et al. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for a large proportion of ovarian carcinoma cases. Cancer. 2005;104(12):2807-2816.

2. National Cancer Institute. BRCA1 and BRCA2: Cancer risk and genetic testing. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA. Accessed June 2, 2014.

3. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Breast and Ovarian. Version 4;2013.2 
4. National Cancer Institute. BRCA1 and BRCA 2: Cancer risk and genetic testing. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA. Last Accessed: October 30, 2014.
5. Petrucelli N, et al.,1998 Sep 4 [Updated 2013 Sep 26]. In: Pagon RA, Adam MP, Bird TD, et al., editors. GeneReviews [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2014.
6. Wang ZC, et al. Profiles of genomic instability in high-grade serous ovarian cancer predict treatment outcome. Clin Cancer Res. 2012;18:5806-5815.
7. Song H., The contribution of deleterious germline mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2 and the mismatch repair genes to ovarian cancer in the population. Human Molecular Genetics 2014;23(17):4703-4709.

Disclosure: I received $150 from AstraZeneca, and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/AstraZeneca.

2 comments:

  1. I love that phrase pictured above. I definitely didn't know what I was capable of fighting against until I had to fight against breast cancer... and WON.

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  2. Cancer has touched my life and I have thought a lot about having this test done.
    heather hgtempaddy@hotmail.com

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