Rising up against ovarian cancer

DNA strand shaped like a womanGenetic predispositions are a contributing factor in up to 25% of all ovarian cancer cases. Knowing that you have inherited a gene mutation can be empowering. This information allows you and your medical provider to make decisions about risk reduction strategies for ovarian cancer.

HBOC: Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes account for almost 75% of hereditary ovarian cancer. There are many mutational variants within each gene and they can have a different effect on the risk of breast or ovarian cancer. The lifetime risk to develop ovarian cancer for BRCA1 carriers is between 24% and 54%. Among BRCA2 carriers, this risk ranges from 11% to 27%.

The BRCA mutations are more common in those with a Jewish Ashkenazi heritage and can be inherited from either parent. This population is 10 times more likely to inherit a BRCA mutation than the general public.

Advances in molecular genetics have led to the identification of numerous other inherited conditions associated with an increased susceptibility to ovarian cancer. If you have several first and second degree relatives with a cancer history – especially at an early age – please seek genetic counseling. Your primary care provider can refer you for genetic testing.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that private health insurance policies cover the cost of BRCA testing without co-payment or deductible for individuals meet specific guidelines.

The Genetic Information nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits health insurance companies and employers from discriminating based on an individual’s genetic information. GINA does not apply to life, disability, or long-term care insurance.