Bracanalysis Testing: FSA Eligibility
What is BRACAnalysis testing?
BRACAnalysis testing refers to a clinical testing method developed by Myriad Genetics, which holds the patent for the BRACAnalysis test. This genetic test is conducted using a simple blood test or oral rinse sample to detect the presence of BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that produce tumor suppressor proteins, which help repair damaged DNA and in turn assist in maintaining the stability of cells' genetic material in the human body. If mutated forms of these genes are inherited through birth, this increases the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers (Myriad Genetics).
BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations have lasting implications for those who carry them, as these individuals are far more likely to develop breast, ovarian and other specific cancers at younger ages than those who do not carry the genes. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers, while those who have a hereditary risk carry these mutated genes 20 to 25 percent of the time. Both men and women can inherit BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, and may pass this genetic trait onto their offspring even if they do not develop the cancer themselves (National Cancer Institute).
What is the result of a positive BRACAnalysis test?
After a BRACAnalysis test, patients who receive a positive test will have to take additional steps to control their susceptibility to life-threatening cancers. First, most physicians will recommend enhanced screening techniques, such as genetic counseling and an increased frequency of cancer screenings (mammograms, blood tests, etc.). In some cases, doctors may suggest prophylactic surgery that will seek to remove tissues that provide the greatest risk of developing cancer. For example, women who have a significant risk of breast cancer may opt to undergo a mastectomy to have their breasts removed and dramatically decrease their breast cancer risk.
A positive BRACAnalysis test can give individuals with increased cancer risk the advanced notice to pursue strategies that have the potential to prevent or delay the onset of these cancers, or detect them at an early stage so treatment methods have a higher likelihood of being successful. Individuals with a family history of cancers, or those who are approaching middle age should consider a BRACAnalysis test to get a better sense of their susceptibility to potentially life-threatening conditions (Myriad Genetics).