Have a BRCA Mutation? Breast Screenings Are Really Important

All people have BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which help protect against breast cancer. But for some people, these genes contain mutations that make them more likely to divide and change. If someone has a BRCA mutation, their breast cancer risk is significantly higher.

Research shows that somewhere around one in every 500 women in the United States has a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. It’s important to know if you have this mutation because a BRCA mutation can substantially increase someone’s risk for breast cancer. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 50 out of every 100 women with a BRCA mutation will have breast cancer by age 70. Meanwhile, for the general population without a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, the risk of getting breast cancer at some point in life is far lower, around 12 or 13%.

Can Screening Help Prevent Breast Cancer in People with BRCA Mutations?

If you test positive for a BRCA mutation, it’s important to discuss breast cancer screening with your doctor. Because of the increased breast cancer risk, people with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation require enhanced breast cancer screening compared with the general population. . 

Your doctor will likely want you to start screening at a younger age, go for screenings more often, and have some screening tests that you otherwise wouldn’t need to have. These tests can help detect cancer even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms.

Here’s what the American Cancer Society recommends for breast cancer screening if you have BRCA gene mutation: 

Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Beginning at age 25, have a yearly breast MRI. A breast MRI uses radio waves and magnets to gather images of the breast. It can sometimes detect cancer not seen on a mammogram or provide more detailed information about the cancer’s location and size. 

Mammogram: Beginning at age 30, see a healthcare professional for a yearly mammogram.  If a breast MRI isn’t available, your doctor may recommend getting a mammogram starting at age 25. Mammograms can help detect breast cancer early, even if a limp or other symptoms aren’t present.

To schedule a mammogram or breast MRI, contact us today!


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