Female Cancer Predisposition
Did you know that about 22,000 new cases of Ovarian Cancer are predicted to be diagnosed in 2015, and about ~14,100 women will die from Ovarian Cancer in the United States. Independently, more than 2.9 million women with a history of breast cancer were reported in 2012. It is estimated that approximately 232,340 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year.
Information is key in this day and age, and that is not solely limited to the corporate world but also directly translates into your health and well-being. Knowing a bit about our genetics and composition we can map out a possible outcome for our future. Getting genetically tested for these mutations enables you to put together a strategy to possibly prevent or detect breast and ovarian cancer at an earlier or treatable stage.
Everyone has variations in their genes.
Genetic variation is what makes each of us unique. Most genetic variants are not harmful. Some variants, however, modify or inactivate the normal function of a particular gene. These harmful variants are called mutations.
About 1 in 100 people carry a mutation in a gene covered by the Color panel. Some mutations are more common in people of certain ethnicity. For example, people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and Norwegian, Dutch and Icelandic people have a higher prevalence of mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
About 10-15% of breast and ovarian cancers are due to inherited genetic mutations.
Hereditary cancer is caused by an inherited genetic mutation. It is typical to see a recurring pattern of cancer across two to three generations—like multiple individuals diagnosed with the same type of cancer(s) and individuals diagnosed with cancer much younger than average.
Familial cancer refers to cancer that appears to occur more frequently in families than is expected from chance alone. While no specific mutation has been linked to these cancers, familial cancer may have a hereditary component that has not yet been identified.
Sporadic cancer refers to cancer that occurs due to spontaneous mutations that accumulate over a person’s life. Sporadic cancer cannot be explained by a single cause. There are several factors, such as aging, lifestyle, or environmental exposure, that may contribute to the development of sporadic cancer.
A mutation can greatly increase your risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer.
For example, a BRCA1 mutation can increase the chances of breast cancer up to 81% and ovarian cancer up to 54% by age 80. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are rare—found in approximately 1 in 300 individuals in the general population and in 2% of Ashkenazim Jewish individuals —but they significantly increase the chances of cancer. Mutations in other genes are more common, but have less of an effect on the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.