2 sisters, one random test, 2 BRCA mutations
Prior to having breast cancer and finding the BRCA mutation, I had no idea that Ashkenazi Jews had such an increased likelihood of carrying the genetic mutation (1 in 40 vs. 1 in 400 in the Ashkenazi Jewish population). Early last summer, Ashkenazi Jewish Women in Toronto were offered the opportunity to take the genetic test for free even if they had no family history of breast cancer. This was a test to determine if women in Canada should be tested for BRCA just because they are Ashkenazi Jews. In an earlier post, I mentioned a friend who recently found out she had the BRCA mutation. Fortunately for her, her sister lives in Toronto and decided to sign up for the free test. Now both she and her sister are making preventative decisions to ultimately avoid a cancer diagnosis. This story raises a very interesting issue. Should Ashkenazi Jews be tested for the mutation regardless of their family history? What if my friend’s sister hadn’t been tested? Would they have found out their BRCA status only after a cancer diagnosis. I’m happy for her that both of them found this out and will hopefully avoid travelling down the cancer path.