Did you know:
Hereditary cancer is defined by a change in DNA that is passed down from parent to child that, unlike the changes we are testing for today, carry a very large risk of breast cancer because the change or mutation in the DNA is in a very important gene that controls cancer. You may recognize the names of some of these genes, like BRCA1. Therefore, BREVAGenplus only looks at your age, ethnicity and family history of breast cancer and then incorporates your own genetic markers into your risk assessment for a more personalized approach.
- The majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer have little or no family history of disease?
- Breast cancer is a disease of age
- Risks for breast cancer can include things you can control like unhealthy lifestyle including diet, alcohol consumption, smoking and things you can’t control, like your genetics
- You can reduce your risk of breast cancer by making modifications to your lifestyle
- If you are at increased risk of breast cancer, there may be medication to help reduce that risk
Your 5 year risk of breast cancer gives you and your clinician a baseline of where your risk lies. This baseline can help guide your well-woman check-up and enable a proactive approach to your breast health.
Yes! The majority of breast cancer diagnoses are in women without family history! BREVAGenplus can give you additional insight to your risk of breast cancer because it uses your own genetic markers and compares them to other women who have gotten breast cancer.
Besides being female, the biggest risk factor is age.
BREVAGenplus takes into account your age, ethnicity and whether you have a mother or sister who has had breast cancer. The lab combines these risk factors with differences in your genetic code (called single nucleotide polymorphisms). The differences in your genetic code or DNA doesn’t mean you will get cancer. But these changes may increase your risk. Each difference itself has a very small effect but the lab can look at all these little differences, put them together and decides if you are at higher risk for breast cancer than the average of women your age in the form of a 5 year risk score.
The 5 year risk score takes into account various risk factors such as your age, and estimates your percentage chance of developing breast cancer in the next 5 years.
In terms of 5 year risk, increased risk is generally defined as a score greater than 1.66%. This means, over a 5 year period, you are at increased risk of breast cancer if you have greater than 1.66% risk score (or a 1 in 60 chance of breast cancer in 5 years).
BREVAGenplus looks at a series of differences in your DNA. These differences have been associated with women that have developed breast cancer compared to women who have not. You can think of these markers as a small, genetic fingerprint of breast cancer.
Hereditary cancer is defined by a change in DNA that is passed down from parent to child that, unlike the differences we are testing for, carry a very large risk of breast cancer because the change or mutation in the DNA is in a very important gene that controls cancer. You may recognize the names of some of these genes, located in genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 that are very important in breast cancer development and progression. As such, woman that have these genetic differences have a much higher chance of developing breast cancer. These high-risk genetic differences are tested in hereditary breast cancer tests. Therefore, in these cases, many times there is a very strong family history for breast, ovarian and other cancers. Fortunately, this accounts for a small percentage of all breast cancers – less than 15%. The type of breast cancer we are looking for is the more common type that isn’t associated with a strong family history, but rather the more typical cancer that is responsible for the large majority of breast cancer cases. BREVAGenplus tests for genetic differences in other genes that each confer a small risk of developing breast cancer, however, these genetic differences are much more common in the general population.
Both provide a 5 year risk score, but each incorporates different risk factors. BREVAGenplus incorporates your own genetic markers into your risk assessment for a further personalized approach.
If you have had a positive biopsy identifying atypical hyperplasia, this already puts you at significantly higher risk of breast cancer. BREVAGenplus is a tool to identify a woman that may be at high risk; you have already “risked out” of BREVAGenplus.
Age at first childbirth2, number of childbirths3, alcohol consumption4, birth control use5, weight/BMI6, breastfeeding7, night shift work8, breast density9, physical activity, hormone replacement therapy10, age of menopause. These are just a few factors that have been associated with breast cancer risk. Some are within your control to change, and some are not. Each of these risk factors only change your risk by a small fraction, but added together the risk may be greater in some women compared to others.
Additional resources for women about breast cancer risk
- BREVAGenplus provides information about breast cancer risk over a 5 year period; it does not diagnose breast cancer
- BREVAGenplus is validated in African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic women age 35 years or older
- The risk estimate used in this test does not take into account several other breast cancer risk factors, such as an extensive family history of breast and ovarian cancer and thus does not provide a lifetime risk score
- This test is used for clinical purposes
* BREVAGenplus is not applicable to women who are already at high risk of breast cancer including those that have a personal or extensive family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, LCIS, DCIS, AH or have thoracic RT under 30y. Any women with these risk factors are already at increased risk of breast cancer and should be screened and followed as such.
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2. Newcomb PA, et al. Late age at first full term birth is strongly associated with lobular breast cancer. Cancer. 2011 May 1;117(9):1946-56.
3. Ma H, et al. Use of four biomarkers to evaluate the risk of breast cancer subtypes in the women’s contraceptive and reproductive experiences study. Cancer Res. 2010 Jan 15;70(2):575-87
4. Dam MK, et al. Five year change in alcohol intake and risk of breast cancer and coronary heart disease among postmenopausal women: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2016 May 11;353:i2314.
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