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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Everything You Need To Know About The BRCA Gene Test | Affinity Health

Affinity Health, prominent provider of affordable medical cover for all South Africans, honours Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


What Is The BRCA Gene Test?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women of all races in South Africa, with a lifetime risk of one in 25, according to the 2017 National Cancer Registry (NCR).


Early detection by screening and awareness of the symptoms can lead to earlier diagnosis and better treatment outcomes.


While not all cancers are hereditary, some, such as breast, ovarian, colorectal, and prostate cancers, are heavily influenced by genes and can run in families.


The BRCA gene test is a blood test that looks for abnormalities in one of two breast cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 and BRCA.


Mutations in either breast cancer gene significantly increase the risk of breast cancer, male breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and melanoma.


If you have any of the following, you may be at a higher risk of inheriting a gene mutation that raises the risk of breast and ovarian cancers – and be a possible candidate for genetic testing.

  • A personal history of breast cancer, prostate cancer, or pancreatic cancer.
  • A blood relative, such as your parents, siblings, or children, who have – or had – breast cancer at an early age.
  • One or more relatives with a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.


Is The BRCA Gene Test Dangerous – Or Painful?


The good news is that there’s no medical risk associated with being tested for a BRCA gene mutation, and the test is no more painful than a needle prick.


The first step in the BRCA gene testing process is to talk to your family doctor about it. He or she will refer you to a genetic counsellor to see if the test is essential and to address any concerns you may have. After undergoing the test, it may take a few weeks before the results are available.


It’s important to note that genetic testing results aren’t always straightforward. A positive test indicates that you have a gene mutation that raises your cancer risk, and you can work with your doctor to reduce that risk.


A negative result could suggest that you don’t have the mutation or that you have a gene mutation that scientists have yet to identify. Your test may potentially reveal a gene variant about which doctors are unsure. It’s not always apparent what the results signify in terms of your cancer risk in these scenarios.


Those considering genetic testing should undergo genetic counselling. Genetic counselling can help you understand the implications of the results for your health, determine whether genetic testing is appropriate for you, and prescribe a specific combination of genetic tests depending on your family history.”


Affinity Health offers all members access to qualified Primary Healthcare Professionals at the Medical Society Centres to assist with all your primary healthcare needs, including screening and preventative tests. For more information, visit Affinity Health’s website.


Read More: Affinity Health Celebrates Breastfeeding Week


About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of health insurance, offering you a range of options at affordable rates including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.




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