BRCA cancer genes, pros and cons

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  It ain’t the data that counts, its how you think about the data. I have patients with no symptoms and excellent healthy lifestyles who tested themselves for these BRCA, found they were positive and consulted with their doctors who told them (I am not kidding) to have both their breast cut off…..    And now we learn that BRCA gene mutations reflect a more complex issue.  Also, consider that women with BRCA genes only account for 2% of women with breast cancer.  In carpentry, we say “Measure twice and cut once.” In medicine it should be “Think twice before you cut!”



BRCA Mutations May Be Linked To Improved Survival In Ovarian Cancer Patients.

MedPage Today (1/25, Smith) reports, “Inherited mutations known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer appear, paradoxically, to improve survival compared with disease caused by other factors,” according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Medscape (1/25, Nelson) reports that researchers “investigated 1213 ovarian cancer patients with pathogenic germline mutations in BRCA1 (n = 909) or BRCA2 (n = 304) and 2666 non-carriers drawn from 26 observational studies on the survival of women with ovarian cancer.” The participants “were followed-up at variable intervals from 1987 to 2010; during the 5 years after diagnosis, 1766 deaths occurred.”

HealthDay (1/25, Doheny) reports, “At the five-year mark, 44 percent of the BRCA1 carriers and 52 percent of the BRCA2 carriers were alive, compared to 36 percent of those without the mutation.”


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