Presence of BRCA Mutation Warrants Testing in Men

05/23/16 By Daryl Lee

It’s important to know your “medical pedigree,” as Joe Scholten, a D.C. resident, learned. The presence of BRCA mutations can affect both men and women and the implications are genetic, according to a story by Laurie McGinley in The Washington Post.

Because 65 percent of women who inherit a BRCA1 mutation and 45 percent with a BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer, knowing the presence of the defect can allow for early detection. By learning about his own genetic risk for the mutation, Scholten was able to alert his relatives and encourage them to aggressively screen for cancer.

“The problem is, everyone associates this with women and their cancers,” said Bruce Montgomery, an oncologist at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance/University of Washington Medical Center. “In men’s minds, BRCA is about breast cancer, so they don’t see it as relevant.”

Except that it is -- men with the BRCA2 defect have a 7 percent of getting breast cancer and can, like Scholten, inform family members of their own risk as well.

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