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Cancer Tests Getting More Popular Among Women Whose Family Have Breast Cancer Genes

Update Date: Feb 15, 2016 02:17 AM EST

An increasing number of young women with breast cancer at age 40 or younger are getting BRCA cancer gene test according to a recently published study featured in JAMA Oncology.

The surge of BRCA tests appears to have started long before Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie revealed that she opted for preventive surgery after gene mutation test yielded high risk of developing breast cancer. In Jolie's case, breast cancer is a family-inherited burden.

The study reveals that 87% of the 897 women surveyed in the study reportedly underwent BRCA testing a year after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Subsequently, the number of women getting tests over time.

"Given that knowledge and concern about genetic risk influence surgical decisions and may affect systemic therapy trial eligibility, all young women with breast cancer should be counseled and offered genetic testing, consistent with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines," the study's authors wrote as quoted by Eureka Alert.

However, co-author Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel added that most of the women getting the genetic tests are highly educated whites covered with health insurance.

"We need to keep working on extending the reach of genetic testing," lamented Weitzel as mentioned in a report by US News and World Report.

Cancer experts are hoping that BRCA gene mutation tests would one day become widespread in order to reduce the likelihood of developing inherited cancer traits from one generation to another.

"Testing gives a gene carrier the chance to be a "previvor," someone who takes preventative measures, like a mastectomy," wrote Caitlin Kerfin in an article penned for YDR.

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