BRCA: Best Advice for Patients Who Worry

Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD


May 28, 2013

In This Article

What Should a Person Do With These Risk Factors?

These genetic mutations can be inherited and thus occur in families, but that doesn't mean that everyone in the family has them. Also, having the harmful gene mutation doesn't mean that a person will definitely get cancer. It does mean that one is at higher risk. If you find out that you do have it, what you do with this information is a personal decision, and there are several choices.

First, a woman could just continue cancer surveillance and screening. For breast cancer, that means mammography, clinical breast exams, and breast MRIs. For ovarian cancer, it's clinical exams and maybe transvaginal ultrasound. The reliability of CA125 blood tests in finding cancer at an early stage is uncertain. Several recent studies question their value.


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