Ovarian Cancer Causes & the BRCA Gene

Last Updated on March 7, 2021 by Ellen Christian

Healthy living is one of those things that I’m passionate about. I try to pay attention to the choices I make that impact my health. Some things like my weight and my fitness  level, I have a lot of control over. Some things like genetic diseases, I don’t. Ovarian cancer causes have been shown to be linked to the BRCA gene and that means that genetics plays a part in it and that worries me.

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Ovarian cancer causes & BRCA

Ovarian Cancer Causes & the BRCA Gene

When my Mom was in her 40s, she had a hysterectomy because they found abnormal cells. No one used the word cancer but that’s what everyone was worried about. Thankfully, the hysterectomy was the only thing that needed to be done but that worry is there in the back of my mind.

So what is a BRCA gene? BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes involved with cell growth, cell division, and cell repair. Although they are most commonly associated with BReast CAncer, approximately 15% of women with ovarian cancer also have BRCA gene mutations. Women with BRCA gene mutations have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. In the general population, 1.4 percent of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, while up to 40 percent of women with BRCA 1/2 mutations will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime. These are scary numbers.

What scares me even more is that nearly one half of women with ovarian cancer who are BRCA-positive have no significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer. That means that while genetics plays a part in it, there are other factors as well. Unfortunately, we don’t know the causes of ovarian cancer today. There are many different theories, but no solid answers. Genetic tests can go a long way toward helping women better understand their risks.

Clinical practice guidelines recommend that all women with epithelial ovarian cancer be considered for BRCA testing. The test is simple and easy. A blood or saliva sample can be taken at your physician’s office or at a local lab. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance carriers cover BRCA testing for women with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Certain mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 can affect how you and your physician choose to manage ovarian cancer.

Do you know a woman diagnosed with or at risk for ovarian cancer? The website myocjourney.com provides information about diagnosis, BRCA gene testing, treatment plans, and support networks that may be helpful to these women now and can help alert more women to what they need to know about BRCA and ovarian cancer.

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12 thoughts on “Ovarian Cancer Causes & the BRCA Gene”

  1. Cancer is devastating. I have family members that died from cancer and it is honestly hard for me to talk about because it is so awful.
  2. This is such a great cause to bring attention to. My husband and I do a breast cancer walk every year in honor of his mother. The more awareness we can bring to cancers and the more research that can be done will result in less people being affected by such terrible diseases. 
  3. I know my family history puts me at risk for ovarian cancer and knowledge is the most important tool in winning the fight. Thanks for supporting such a great cause!
  4. I really hate cancer, and wish it never existed! It has taken way too many people I love, and is just such evil! 
  5. Such an important topic to discuss and bring attention to. My sister got Ovarian Cancer when she was only 37, and she has been cancer free for 9 years. There are 4 other sisters and none of them have gotten Ovarian cancer. I bet genetics plays a big part in this cancer, and it is so sad that we do not know what causes ovarian cancer today. I will spread the word about this cancer!

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