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Can your genes put you at greater risk of breast or ovarian cancer?
Most of the women consider their 20's as the most blissful period of their lives. It is absolute party time. Women are carefree and young, nobody in this age thinks about breast or ovarian cancer. To most of the people, it is unknown that cancers can be inherited and can occur at any age. Some people's "genes" make them more vulnerable and their risk of developing cancer is higher.

Does your family history put you at risk?

People who inherit harmful mutations can pass on these on to their children with a probability of around 50 per cent. If a person has inherited a harmful mutation, it means that each of their brothers or sisters have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting that mutation.

Women with a mutation in BRCA (Breast cancer susceptibility genes) often develop breast and ovarian cancer, their risks are higher and they can also develop it at a younger age.

The risk caused by certain gene mutations associated with breast and ovarian cancer is higher than it is commonly believed. There are many possible mutations that can occur in the BRCA genes, although, not all of them are harmful. However, those that are harmful can immensely increase the chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

What can you do if you are concerned about your risk?

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the two most important genes which are concerned with the development of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC). These genes make proteins which help to repair cell damage. If one of these genes has a mutation or alteration, the repair function of the protein is reduced or absent.

As per researches and studies, mutations in genes account for approximately 5 per cent of all breast cancers and between 10-15 per cent of ovarian cancers.

Although not all breast cancer and ovarian cancers are caused by an inherited mutation. In some cases, the causes of breast cancer cannot be determined, so it is important to be regularly checked. There is no proven method of preventing these cancers, but early detection can greatly increase the chances of survival.

Tests available for BRCA gene mutations

Oncodona by Igenomix is a test specific for early risk detection of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The result of the test, if positive, can be used to follow up proper treatment.

For women who have a family history of breast cancer, genetic testing can help to determine if they have inherited faulty genes or if they are at higher risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. In case of people with mutations, there are several preventive options which are present to deal with the cancer risk. These measures include intensive screening for early diagnosis. It is high time to know your genes!

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