Research carried out by charity Ovarian Cancer Action has found a quarter of women would choose not to be tested for the faulty BRCA gene mutation even if a family member had been diagnosed with breast and/or ovarian cancer.
Perhaps more shockingly, one in 20 women wouldn’t inform other family members if they carried the BRCA gene for fear of frightening their family members. Sadly, this attitude puts more lives at risk and prevents life-saving treatment options. A family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer may indicate the presence of a BRCA1/2 mutation, which increases the risk of getting ovarian cancer from one in 54 to one in two.
The message for all women, especially those with a significant family history of either breast and/or ovarian cancer, is to be ‘BRCA aware’ by checking out their family medical history. The charity us urging all women, and especially those with family history of the cancers, to become more aware and complete the BRCA Risk Tool, an online risk calculator.
Katherine Taylor, acting Chief Executive of Ovarian Cancer Action, said: “Of course knowing that you’re at greater risk of developing cancer can be frightening, but the benefits of knowing far outweigh a temptation to bury your head in the sand. Not only could knowing save your life – by enabling you to take preventative measures or spot warning signs before it’s too late – it could also save the lives of your family members who may have inherited the gene too.”
Ovarian cancer kills one woman every two hours in the UK. There’s currently no screening tool for ovarian cancer and symptoms are often confused, by both women and doctors, for other conditions.
Visit the Ovarian Cancer Action’s website for more details.