Hereditary gene mutation can lead to multiple forms of cancer

TYLER (KYTX) - Making people aware of cancer is an ongoing fight, now oncologist are pushing to bring attention to a gene mutation that has shown to increase the risk of developing a variety of cancers. 

CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey explains what the gene mutation is and who's more likely to have it.

BRCA stand for breast cancer. The mutation happens in two forms BRCA one and BRCA two. Each of those gene mutations are hereditary. Earlier this year, actress Angelina Jolie revealed her double mastectomy. She carried the BRCA one gene. Jolie's mother died of breast cancer. 

This mutation is something that hits close to home for an east Texas mother and daughter.

On July 23, 2012, Ashley Davis was 27 years old when she found out she had breast cancer.

"I won't get breast cancer I'm too young, but you're never too young never," Davis said.

Davis carries the BRCA one gene mutation. She got her breasts removed. One of her breast has been reconstructed, the other she plans to have another surgery.

Her mother Mary Johnson has the same genetic mutation.

"My risk was so high, they were 86 percent of getting breast cancer, it wasn't if I  would get breast cancer it was when I would get it," Johnson said.

As a preventative measure and show of support for her daughter, Johnson chose to get a double mastectomy too.

"My breast are not who I am," Johnson said.

The gene mutation BRCA one and two happen in about one out of every 400 men and women.

Dr. Sasha Vukelja said the gene typically affect people with family histories of cancer.
"It's like a time bomb so if people have this genetic mutation, we recommend they do something once they know you have this predisposition," Dr. Vukelja said.

Doctors recommend preventative measures like mastectomies. Otherwise doctors say testing should be done a lot more often.

So instead of a yearly mammogram, they suggest bi-annual MRI's and constant self breast exams.

Specialist say having the mutated gene is not considered a pre-existing condition when it comes to getting medical treatment. That's good because most insurance covers the test.   
BRCA one and two genes don't just increase the likelihood of breast cancer, they increase your chance of ovarian cancer, prostate, pancreatic and throat cancer.



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