Do You Need to Check Your Genes?

By Tami Boehmer
Knowing for My Daughter’s Sake

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38 with no family history, I concluded it wasn’t genetic. But due to my Ashkenazie (AKA eastern European) Jewish heritage, I learned I was still at risk for the BRCA-1and BRCA- 2 gene mutation. I wanted to know for my daughter’s sake so she could later be tested – and for my health, as well. Mutation carriers previously diagnosed with cancer have a significantly greater risk of developing second cancers. I tested negative.

BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations significantly increase your risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer as compared to the general population. According to the National Cancer Institute, five (5%) to ten percent (10%) of women who are diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer have a hereditary form of cancer due to mutations in the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 genes.

Check Your Genes was founded in 2007 to spread the word about a simple blood test that can help people take proactive steps to prevent a cancer diagnosis later.

This test is available to individuals with a significant family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer. Most health insurance companies even cover the cost of testing if there is a significant family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer or individuals diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer at a young age. And, grants are available for those without insurance.

To learn more about Check Your Genes and hereditary cancers, visit http://www.checkyourgenes.org. Or find them on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/checkyourgenes or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/checkyourgenes.

Tami Boehmer is a metastatic breast cancer survivor, speaker, blogger and author of From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds. You can visit her at www.MiracleSurvivors.com.

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