Health experts are discovering an abnormal gene mutation that increases the risk of breast and other cancers more than previously thought in the ever-expanding world of genetic testing.Bertha Brooks was 40 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer 26 years ago.”They had done three different biopsies on me, and when the biopsies came back negative, I told my doctor that’s not right, something is wrong,” Brooks explained.She had a mastectomy to remove the cancerous breast.
Then, in 2018, she was diagnosed with cancer in her other breast.Genetic testing revealed a mutation in the PALB2 gene.”We’re finding out more about the gene.” Women who test positive for this genetic mutation have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. “By the age of 70, it ranges from 40 percent to 60 percent,” said Cleveland Clinic Weston breast surgeon Dr. Margaret Thompson. According to Thompson, the gene mutation can be passed down to both men and women.”Both would be at risk for breast and pancreatic cancer.” “Men are at risk for prostate cancer, while women are at risk for ovarian cancer,” she explained.
People who have the genetic mutation should be screened and monitored more frequently.”I know I have to stay on top of my family members and say, ‘It’s not just me, you need to get the genetic testing too to make sure you’re OK,'” Brooks explained.There are medications that can help target the PALB2 gene mutation once it has been identified.
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