Assignment: Tested for the breast cancer gene?
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Created September 28, 2012 by
Actress Angelina Jolie has revealed she underwent a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which sharply increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
During the month of October, we asked iReporters to share stories of how they dealt with finding out they are BRCA gene carriers. Hearing their stories inspired: Tough choices in fight against breast cancer gene.
Because of advances in genetic testing, many women are finding out if they are predisposed to the disease and making life-altering decisions at young ages.
Mutations in the breast and ovarian cancer genes (known as BRCA1 and BRCA2) account for 5 to 10% of all breast cancers and one in seven ovarian cancer cases. While people with the gene mutation may never get cancer, carriers are at significantly higher risk of developing breast, ovarian and other cancers – and passing on the mutation to future generations.
After undergoing genetic testing, some women with family histories of breast cancer are undergoing preventive mastectomies, having their ovaries removed, taking anti-cancer drugs and changing their lifestyles entirely before ever developing the disease. The genetic testing can also have profound ripple effects throughout families.
Have you been tested for the breast cancer gene? If you are a carrier of the breast cancer gene mutation, what steps have you taken since hearing the news? What did you think of Jolie's decision? Send us your thoughts along with an image of yourself and you could be part of CNN's coverage.