What is the BrCA Gene?
Genes are pieces of DNA that form the code for our bodies much like the code written for computer programs. If something in the code is altered, the program will not work. Scientists discovered the BRCA1 gene in 1994 and the BRCA2 in. Everyone (men and women) has a BRCA gene. A functioning BRCA gene suppresses or keeps cancer cells from forming. When there is a break or mutation in the gene, cancer forms easier and at an earlier age. BRCA gene mutations are associated with an increased risk of breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers. Abnormalities in the BRCA gene account for 7-10% of breast cancer. Another 15% is familial meaning there is an increased number of men or women with breast or ovarian cancer but the BRCA mutation is not found. The cause of the remaining 75% of breast cancer cases is not fully understood and called “sporadic.
The BrCA gene is a gene which all women have. It is responsible for controlling cell growth in the body, and mutations in the gene can put women at a higher risk for breast and ovarian cancers. Many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer ask to be tested for these mutations, to help make decisions about treatment. When people talk about a BrCA test, they mean a test for mutations in the gene, not a test for cancer. When the BrCA gene functions normally, it inhibits the growth of abnormal cells in the body, acting as a tumor suppressor. Mutations in the genetic material of the gene can cause abnormal cells to develop, because the gene is not able to regulate cell division. However, not everyone with a faulty BrCA gene develops breast cancer; many women with mutated versions of the gene lead healthy, normal lives. Women are often tested for the gene when they develop breast or ovarian cancer, because presence of mutations make have an impact on the best choice of treatment. In other