Absolute risk: The chance of developing a specific disease over a specified time period.
Allele: An allele is one of two or more forms of a gene that may occupy a given locus on the chromosome. Sometimes, different alleles can result in different traits, such as color. At other times, different alleles will have the same result in the expression of a gene.
Biopsy: The removal of a sample of tissue for purposes of diagnosis. The sample of tissue may be examined under a microscope or the diagnosis may be achieved by other means such as by analysis of chromosomes or genes.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes: BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that belong to a class of genes known as tumor suppressors. Mutation of these genes has been linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. A woman’s risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits a deleterious (harmful) BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. Men with these mutations also have an increased risk of breast cancer. The names BRCA1 and BRCA2 stand for breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 and breast cancer susceptibility gene 2, respectively.
Breast density: Describes the relative amount of different tissues present in the breast. A dense breast has less fat than glandular and connective tissue. Mammogram films of breasts with higher density are harder to read and interpret than those of less dense breasts.
Cancer: A general term for more than 100 diseases in which there is an uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells. In some cases, cancer cells can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the presence of abnormal cells inside a milk duct in the breast. DCIS is considered the earliest form of breast cancer. DCIS is non-invasive, meaning it hasn’t spread out of the milk duct to invade other parts of the breast.
Estrogen: Estrogen is a female hormone produced by the ovaries which stimulates and maintains female sex characteristics. They are either natural or synthetic. Estrogens are used to treat menstrual and menopausal disorders and are also used as oral contraceptives.
Estrogen receptor: A hormone receptor present in some cell types which binds to the hormone 17β-estradiol (estrogen). Binding of estrogen to this receptor can have several effects, including stimulating cell growth.
Genetic predisposition: An inherited genetic pattern that makes one susceptible to a certain disease. Having a genetic predisposition for a disease does not mean that you will get that disease, but your risk may be higher than that of the general population.
Lobular Carcinoma in-situ (LCIS): Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is an uncommon condition in which abnormal cells form in the lobules or milk producing glands in the breast. LCIS is not cancer, but being diagnosed with LCIS indicates that you have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Lymph node: Sometimes referred to as lymph glands. Lymph nodes are small rounded or bean-shaped masses of lymphatic tissue. Lymph nodes are located in many places throughout the body. The lymph nodes are critical for the body’s immune response and are principal sites where many immune reactions are initiated.
Lymphatic system: A circulatory system that includes an extensive network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes. The lymphatic system helps coordinate the immune system’s function to protect the body from infections and foreign substances.
Metastasis: The name for a cancer that spreads to another part of the body. When cancer cells metastasize and cause secondary tumors, the cells in the secondary tumor are like those in the original cancer.
Progesterone: A female hormone and the principal progestational hormone that is made mainly by the corpus luteum in the ovary and by the placenta. Progesterone prepares the lining (endometrium) of the uterus (the womb) to receive and sustain the fertilized egg and so permits pregnancy. Similarly refers to synthetic versions of the hormone.
Relative Risk: Relative risk is the risk of an event (or of developing a disease) relative to exposure to a particular risk factor. Relative risk is calculated by dividing the frequency of the disease in a group exposed to a risk factor by the frequency of disease in an unexposed group.
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms: A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, pronounced snip) is a DNA sequence variation occurring when a single nucleotide — A, T, C, or G — in the genome (or other shared sequence) differs between members of a species or paired chromosomes in an individual.
- BREVAGenplus provides information about breast cancer risk; 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
- This test is used for clinical purposes
* BREVAGenplus is not applicable to women who have a personal or extensive family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, or other high risk factors. In this case, patients would be referred for genetic counseling and risk assessment for hereditary cancers