A BRCA genetic test looks for changes, known as mutations, in genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2. Genes are parts of DNA passed down from your mother and father. They carry information that determine your unique traits, such as height and eye color. Genes are also responsible for certain health conditions. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that protect cells by making proteins that help prevent tumors from forming.
A mutation in a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene can cause cell damage that may lead to cancer . Women with a mutated BRCA gene have a higher risk of getting breast or ovarian cancer . Men with a mutated BRCA gene are at a higher risk for getting breast or prostate cancer . Not everyone who inherits a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation will get cancer. Other factors, including your lifestyle and environment, can affect your cancer risk.
If you find out you have a BRCA mutation, you may be able to take steps to protect your health.
Other names: BRCA gene test, BRCA gene 1, BRCA gene 2, breast cancer susceptibility gene1, breast cancer susceptibility gene 2