April 19, 2024
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The Importance of BRCA Testing

As a genetic counselor who often speaks with people about hereditary cancer, I applaud the article written by Rabbi Yair Hoffman about testing for BRCA mutations in the Jewish community (“BRCA Testing, Kallah Teachers and a Tweak That Could Save Lives,” February 22, 2024).
This is an important topic because, as Rabbi Hoffman shares, if a mutation is identified, there are choices to be made that can save people’s lives. Women who test positive are not only encouraged to have annual breast exams by a doctor, but they are also eligible from age 25 for annual breast MRIs, which are much more sensitive imaging tests than mammograms or sonograms. The mammogram and sonogram are recommended in addition to the MRI from age 30 forward. While some women might choose to have their ovaries removed at age 35, that surgery does not routinely need to be done at that young an age. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network shares recommendations from top experts who review medical literature and recommends removing the ovaries and fallopian tubes between ages 35 and 40 in those who are BRCA1 positive and between ages 40 and 45 in those who are BRCA2 positive.

If you have questions about how to arrange for an affordable genetic test, or how to manage your care if you carry a mutation in a hereditary cancer gene such as BRCA, contact us at Sharsheret. Our toll free number is 866.474.2774, or you can email [email protected]. Our services are free, confidential and tailored to each person’s unique needs and circumstances.

Peggy Cottrell, MS, LCGC
Sharsheret
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