The Angelina Effect - 5 Common BRCA Gene Questions
By: Courtney Floyd
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.