Breast & Ovarian Cancer Gene Testing: The New Trend for High Risk Patients

Chances are, you know someone who has cancer. So you know it is physically, emotionally, and financially overwhelming to fight the disease. But what if we told you, a simple swoosh of mouth wash, is helping test for a very important gene mutation that may save a woman's life? Dr. Daniel Lee, with Valley Care Clinics, performs that very test.

The mutation is called the BRCA mutation. There is a BRCA 1 and 2 mutation. There's over a thousand variants of the mutation," said Dr. Lee.

He believes, it TMs the key to telling you whether or not you're more prone to breast or ovarian cancer. Important because one in six women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. The sheer volume of cases makes it the leading cancerous killer among women. Only one in 70 will develop ovarian cancer; but it's more lethal because it's usually caught so late in the game. Which is why Dr. Lee has been testing patients he believes are at high risk for more than a year.

Those women who are high risk are going to include women who have had an immediate family history.

That can include aunt, sisters, mothers or grandmothers," Dr. Lee explains. Dr. Lee advises, you should know what to expect before opting for the test.

"If it's going be positive, have a pre-counseling session of what your options are should it be positive. And if it's negative, where you should go from there," says Dr. Lee. Now if your result is positive, your risk range is up to 85% for breast cancer or 50% for ovarian. Treatment is sought depending on risk and age.

Dr. Lee says there are 2 options including, Taking medication that will decrease their chance of breast cancer by 50% if they test positive, where a mastectomy decreases their chance by 90%.

As far as the cost of the test, he says, If you are at high risk, insurance is predominantly covering it, even state insurance.

In the end, he believes the benefits far outweigh the cost, because you can't put a price on the years of life you could gain.