Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Impact of Oophorectomy on Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Women With a BRCA1 or BRCA2 Mutation

The BRCA Responder

With BRCA gene mutations and a new BRCA study in the news again (full study below), I would like to take an opportunity to explain some BRCA basics.  GIVEN: of course It is EXTREMELY important to have a healthy diet and lifestyle. With that being said, a BRCA1 or BRCA2 positive gene mutation carrier can eat healthily until the cows come home--that does not take away that person's inherent cancer risk--they are born with increased cancer risk. 

Let me explain:

Everyone has BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Those who carry a mutation in one of those genes are BORN with the increased cancer risk. We all inherit one BRCA1 gene from our father and one from our mother. We all inherit one BRCA2 gene from our father and one from our mother. The BRCA1 & BRCA2  genes are tumor suppressing genes. When you inherit a mutated BRCA1 it means you only have one "working' BRCA1 gene protecting you.  If you inherit a mutated BRCA2 it means you only have one working BRCA2 gene working to protect you. People can inherit both one mutated BRCA1 and one mutated BRCA2 gene. However, two mutated BRCA1 genes are not compatible with life. I believe that alone shows how dangerous these mutations can be. 

One thing important to point out is that research has shown that women who carry BRCA1 gene mutations tend to get triple negative breast cancer when they do get breast cancer. Triple negative breast cancer is VERY aggressive, VERY hard to treat cancer. So, even a "small cancer", "small lump or tumor" can mean your journey (your life) is virtually "over" right when cancer begins. Removal of the ovaries prior to natural menopause actually reduces one's breast cancer risk by 50%. As a BRCA positive woman, these were two of my own reasons for making the personal decision to have preventative surgeries. BRCA genetic mutations are dangerous. Knowledge and education about these gene mutations can be life-saving.

I hope this helps shed some light.

Amy Byer Shainman, The BRCA Responder
BRCA1 positive, Previvor, BRCA Health Advocate

& please comment below!
Amy P.M. Finch, Jan Lubinski, Pål Møller, Christian F. Singer, Beth Karlan, Leigha Senter, Barry Rosen, Lovise Maehle, Parviz Ghadirian, Cezary Cybulski, Tomasz Huzarski, Andrea Eisen, William D. Foulkes, Charmaine Kim-Sing, Peter Ainsworth, Nadine Tung, Henry T. Lynch, Susan Neuhausen, Kelly A. Metcalfe, Islay Thompson, Joan Murphy, Ping Sun, and Steven A. Narod 

WPTV NBC NEWS West Palm Beach, FL
"I wanted to live and I basically wanted to remain breathing," says Shainman, 
"My best chance for that was to get my ovaries out."
Amy Shainman, The BRCA Responder
BRCA 1 positive previvor, BRCA Health Advocate
WEGO Health Award finalist for
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