The BRCA gene is the most well known hereditary “cancer gene.” Some people who develop cancer have genetic mutations that they accumulated as a result of exposure to toxins, radiation or other mutagenic forces. Others are born with a faulty gene inherited from their mother or father, like the BRCA gene. Such genes put them at much higher risk for cancer than most people.
Women with an unusually high incidence of breast or ovarian cancer in their families, especially occurring at unusually young ages, are more likely to carry the BRCA gene. These women have a 60-70% chance of getting the most aggressive form of breast cancer, and at an earlier age than normal. There is a highly accurate test for the presence of the BRCA gene. Women who know they carry this gene can make therapeutic decisions that reduce their risks to zero.
Unfortunately, few physicians discuss the BRCA gene or test with their patients, and only about 10% of women who carry the gene get tested. As a result, 30,000 women every year receive avoidable breast or ovarian cancer diagnoses.
We understand that cancer is scary. Receiving information, resources and support can be more than comforting – it can potentially be life-saving. We want to enable all women to understand their risk, and be able to make an informed choices about being tested as well as their options should they test positive.
Although genetic testing for the BRCA gene is available, it’s poorly reimbursed by most payers, and the cost is beyond the reach of most women. We’re developing templates to help women who are both at risk and with limited resources employ crowd-funding techniques to raise the purchase price of the BRCA test.
Women who are at risk of having the BRCA genes are those with a personal or family history of:
- Ovarian or fallopian tube cancer at any age
- Breast cancer at age 50 or younger
- Breast cancer in both breasts at any age
- Both breast & ovarian cancer
- Male breast cancer
- “Triple-negative” breast cancer
- Ashkenazi Jewish heritage & breast cancer before age 60
Or more than one relative on the same side of the family with any of these cancers:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian or fallopian tube cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Pancreatic cancer