Cancer is a standard term for a huge group of diseases and disorders that affect one or multiple organs of the body. One definitive feature of cancer is rapid and uncontrollable cell growth. This rapid growth of cells leads to tumours. This invades connecting organs of the affected body part and spreads to the whole body.
It is undoubtedly a deadly disease that eats the life out of you. Luckily, the healthcare industry has become quite responsive and reliable thanks to advancements in technology and medicine.
A BRCA gene testing is a medical procedure to examine if you have any gene mutations in your DNA that could lead to certain cancers. This article explains some important things every human should know about.
What is BRCA Gene Test?
A BRCA gene test is a medical test where the healthcare professional takes a sample of your blood, saliva, or tissue from the cheek inside to identify any DNA changes.
As the name refers, the BRCA gene test mainly focuses on the BRCA genes of the DNA. Any change in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increases the risk of developing cancer. The gene changes are commonly called gene mutations or variants.
How is BRCA Gene Test Done?
You must meet a genetic counsellor before you get the BRCA gene test. A genetic counsellor addresses if you have the risks of an inherited gene mutation that could increase your risk of cancer.
Once addressed, a BRCA gene test will be done. This test uses a sample of your blood, saliva, or tissue or examines the gene changes in your DNA. Here is how it is done;
- Blood Test
A doctor takes a blood sample from your arm vein with the help of a thin needle. The blood BRCA gene test hardly takes five minutes. Your blood sample is collected into a test tube and sent out to the medical laboratory for results.
- Saliva Test
This is an easy and simple BRCA gene test. You will be asked to spit into a test tube or container. There is another saliva test method where you can soak up your saliva on a cotton pad.
- Cheek Swab
Another easy and quick way of a BRCA gene test is a healthcare professional wiping the inside of your cheek with a tool or cotton swab to collect some tissues.
The BRCA gene test typically takes two to three weeks. The report shows whether you have a faulty gene in your DNA, which then could decide if you have a chance of developing cancer.
Why is BRCA Gene Test done?
BRCA gene tests can be done for different purposes. If you are just a carrier of some disease, you have the chance of passing down the genetic mutation to your children. However, a gene test can find three things; if you’re a carrier of the disease, at risk of the disease, and the stage of the disease.
BRCA gene test is a type of gene test where your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are assessed to see if these genes have the chance of any harmful changes. In women, the BRCA gene testing is done to analyse the risk for;
- Breast cancer
- Fallopian tube cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Primary peritoneal cancer
- Fanconi anaemia
- Urinary tract infections
Similarly, testing for men can be done for the following purposes;
- Prostate cancer
- Male breast cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Liver disease
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Knowing your body has a gene mutation allows you and your doctor to take the necessary steps to prevent the risk of developing any cancer before it becomes incurable.