The Angelina Effect – 5 Common BRCA Gene Questions
1)What’s the scoop on the BRCA genes?
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that can have mutations which may lead to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
2)How do I know if I should get tested?
Guidelines currently recommend screening for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations if you have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer. They also recommend screening for women who show early signs of developing cancer.
3)What should I do if I test positive?
Most importantly, do not panic! Testing positive for the BRCA gene mutation does not mean you will get cancer. Likewise, testing negative does not rule out your chances of cancer. If results come back positive for mutations, you have taken your first step into a new journey. Influenced by Angelina Jolie’s comment, “Knowledge is power,” this is a great starting point to gather information. Educating yourself by consulting with physicians and joining support groups is important to fully understanding ALL of your options.
4)Does insurance cover preventative surgery if I test positive BRCA gene mutation?
If you test positive for the mutations, most insurances will cover preventative surgery. The preventative surgeries may include the removal of breast tissue, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and your uterus.
5)What are my reconstruction options if I choose preventative mastectomies?
Breast reconstruction options for women who choose preventative surgery, such as a prophylactic double mastectomy, are the same as for women who have cancer. Reconstructive surgery would be performed immediately after breast tissue removal, allowing for optimal aesthetic results. Women also have the added benefit of waking up with breasts. Breast restoring surgeries include DIEP flap, TUG flap, GAP flap, and One-Step Implants.
Author: Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo and Courtney Floyd
Five common BRCA gene questions are answered here.
My mother had breast cancer, her mother had breast cancer and my great maternal aunt had ovarian cancer I had pre cancerous cells of the uterine walls and at 30 had a hysterectomy. My insurance company will not allow the payment BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 I must pay out of pocket What is cost?
Hey Lisa! I think it is very smart for you to consider getting tested for potential gene mutations and I hate to hear your insurance does not cover this. PRMA does not perform the test, so I am unsure about the costs associated. I am sure different places have different prices. Reaching out the the American Cancer Society may be a good resource to help locate facilities close to you and perhaps financially as well. Best of luck to you!
I had breast cancer when I was 37. I had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. At 45 I had a reduction on the breast that didn’t have cancer. About five months later my sister was diagnosed with DCIS triple negative breast cancer. She had a genetic test that didn’t show BRCA mutations but it did show that she had RAD51C variant. I was retested as I tested negative for BRCA during my cancer treatment. The new test revealed that I also have a inconclusive RAD51C variant but no BRCA mutations. Now I want a double mastectomy. Is a mastectomy an option? Do insurance companies pay for patients with RAD51C or is it just BRAC? Do I have to wait until I get breast cancer again or do I have options?
Great question Sandra! Every insurance policy is different and has different coverage requirements for preventative surgeries. It is best to contact your insurance provider directly for your coverage information.